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Meal Theme: Appetizer Recipes

Approximate Yield: 6-8 servings


This is Chef Maylin Chávez's creative take on kataifi, a traditional dish of the Eastern Mediterannean. This dish can be sweet or savory, but Chef Maylin's version, made with Acme's smoked whitefish salad, makes for a distinctly savory appetizer when served on its own, or a filling entree when paired with an herb salad. Kataifi is a popular regional snack, but has particular cultural importance in Greece and Turkey. The origins of kataifi are unclear, but certain sources attribute the dish to Armenian vendors in Eastern Turkey, where it is now popularly served during Ramadan. With the addition of smoked whitefish salad, this classic dish gets a distinctly fresh spin.


Pickled Serrano Jam

12 oz of pickled serranos

24 oz granulated sugar

16 oz apple cider vinegar

4 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 tsp of agar agar (red seaweed gelatin)


Whitefish Kataifi

3 cups white fish salad

½ cup of diced celery

1 tablespoon of diced red onion

1 tablespoon of lemon juice

Sea salt + black pepper to taste

1 box of shredded phyllo dough

Grapeseed oil, enough to cover a cast iron pan for frying


Herb Salad

1 bunch of mint

1 bunch of cilantro, destemmed

1 bunch of parsley, destemmed

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

Salt and pepper to taste


Ancho Sauce

3 Ancho peppers, destemmed and deseeded (hydrated in hot water for 20 minutes)

2 cloves garlic

1 tablespoon of honey

½ cup of apple cider vinegar


For the Pickled Serrano Jam

Chop serranos. Transfer peppers to a large saucepan or Dutch oven. Stir in sugar, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add agar agar whisking vigorously to avoid clumps.  Chill for about 1 hour. Store in an airtight container. Pickled serrano jam can keep for up to 2 weeks.


For the Whitefish Salad Kataifi

Toss the whitefish salad with the diced celery, red onion, lemon juice salt and pepper. Quenelle the whitefish mixture to create small football shapes. Spread the phyllo dough onto the counter and add the quenelle of whitefish and roll the kataifi. Heat Grapeseed oil to 375, Drop the kataifi and fry until golden. About 20 seconds. Set aside on a plate with a napkin to absorb the excess oil.


For the Ancho Sauce

In a blender combine hydrated ancho peppers, apple cider vinegar, garlic, honey, salt and pepper to taste.


For the Herb Salad

Toss the herbs with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.


To plate

For plating serve herb salad, set whitefish kataifi on plate, drizzle with pickled serrano jam, spread ancho sauce on the side.


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