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Fish Pie

December 28, 2012

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After spending four hours on a rain sodden M25 yesterday, with traffic at a standstill for much of the time, to pick up my mother in Kent and bring her to my home for a couple of days – a journey that would normally take only two hours – a bit of warm, comforting food was needed at suppertime. And there are few things more comforting than a good fish pie, full of flavour and goodness and easy to eat. I nearly always serve fish pie and shepherd’s pie with peas, which I suppose brings a ‘nursery’ aspect to the easy comfort of the eating. But I happen to love peas – as a side veg, in risottos (and so do the Italians!), in pasta (see my Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Peas), or added to a soup.

Fortunately I’d bought the fish in the morning before I set off on the trek to the UK’s ‘garden of England’ – Kent. I’d been waiting for the heavy rain to clear, having driven through a flooded bit of the M25 when heading there on Christmas Day, and not wanting to repeat the experience, but even in the afternoon drizzle and winter grey, Kent is such a pretty county.

When evening came, putting the pie together was an easy job. First of all, I got the potatoes going. I cut up a couple of large baking potatoes and boiled them in salted water, then mashed them till smooth and creamy with some butter and a little milk. While the potatoes were cooking, I got on with making the sauce.

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I melted 50g butter in a saucepan and added a finely sliced onion and cooked till the onion was starting to soften. I then added 2 tablespoons flour and mixed all into a roux and let it cook for a couple of minutes, stirring all the time. Then I added a good glug of dry vermouth (or white wine if you have it to hand) and mixed in. Next I started slowly added some hot stock (I used a light chicken stock but fish stock would be good if you have some) to make a thick sauce. You could use milk but my mother can’t eat very milky-creamy dishes so that’s partly why I used all stock here, but I also think the wine and stock take the dish out of the nursery and into something more special. And I did add a nice drizzle of cream at the end.

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Then I added a good handful of roughly chopped fresh parsley and finally salt and pepper and checked the seasoning was right. You want a fairly thick sauce or it will all turn out too runny once the fish is cooked in it.

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You can use pretty much any fish you fancy but this mix here – of salmon, haddock and prawns – is one of my favourites. You need a fish that holds its shape when cooked so you get nice chunks in the pie. I cut the salmon and haddock into bite-sized pieces and scattered over raw prawns. Then pour over the sauce and finally top with the creamed potato. Put in a 200C/180Fan oven for about 30 minutes, till nicely browned. About halfway through I scattered over some Dukkah, a seasoning of hazelnuts, fennel seeds and lots of other nice flavourings, that I bought from Ottolenghi’s online store. Sometimes I grate some Parmesan cheese on top. But really, it’s a very nice pie without any additions to the topping.

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Mmm. Doesn’t it look good? And definitely good enough to eat!!

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Fish pie is one of my favourite winter dishes, so warm and comforting on a dreary day. And sometimes I make it just for myself, but put it together in smaller, single-portion dishes and then freeze the extra pie for another day (you need to thoroughly defrost before you bake it).

From → Fish, Recipes

12 Comments
  1. I love fish pie, I think I’ve only ever made it once as the OH hates fish! Such a classic recipe.

  2. Your fish pie sounds great…a dish I have never had.

  3. petit4chocolatier permalink

    It is pretty dreary here today and this looks perfect!! I wish I could move into the screen and take a taste 🙂 Definitely a warm and comforting meal!

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