By now, turkey, mince pies and Christmas pudding are all in the past! It’s time to eat something a little healthier and lighter. But, because it’s so cold out there, I want to carry on eating comfort food and fish pie ticks all the boxes. Use your favourite fish – cod every time for me and a combination of those delicious, big prawns, free range hard boiled eggs and to give it a lift, capers. Cover with a creamy white sauce made with the fish stock, flavoured with lemon juice and parsley. Top the whole lot with smooth mashed potato. All you need is a bag of frozen petit pois and maybe carrots.
Two top tips –
Do not cook the precious, expensive, lovely fish for too long. Most cookery books will tell you to poach the fish fillets for 20 minutes. This is far too long! Twelve minutes is fine. Don’t forget you will be re-heating the whole fish pie after the mashed potato is added. You are aiming for large, just cooked flakes of fish not mush.
Secondly, any recipe that uses mashed potato calls for a potato ricer. This is a wonderful kitchen utensil that will guarantee that your mashed potato will be completely lump free. You can buy this kind of kitchen utensil at Bigger of Bailgate, Lincoln. Contact details below or in good kitchen shops like John Lewis.
Use a knob of butter to make your mashed potato creamy. Avoid adding milk which turns your lovely mash into slop.
Your family and friends will love this fish pie and there won’t be any leftovers. For the basis of the recipe, I return to Delia Smith’s Complete Cookery Course. I bought this book in 1984 and like alot of us, it’s a bit frayed at the edges now but still full of great ideas ! Currently, you can buy a Used copy from Amazon for £2.41. Has to be good value.
Fish Pie – serves 6
800 g white fish – haddock or cod.
1 pint of milk
4 oz butter
2 oz plain flour
75 g large peeled prawns
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
1 tblsp capers, drained
3 tblsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
tblsp lemon juice
salt and black pepper
1 kg potatoes – for instance Maris Piper
2 oz of butter
a little grated nutmeg
Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. AGA owners will use the roasting oven.
Place the white fish into an oven proof dish and cover with half the milk. Top with 25 g of butter in flecks and season with salt and pepper. Poach for 12 minutes. Reserve the cooking liquid and carefully remove the skin and any bones from the fish. Flake the fish into large pieces and place in a buttered, baking dish. It needs to be deep enough to take the addition of the mashed potato.
To make the sauce, place 75 g of butter into a medium saucepan and melt. Stir in the flour and then gradually whisk in the cooking liquid and the remaining milk. Season, add the parsley and then let the sauce gently cook for 10 minutes.
Add the prawns, chopped eggs and capers evenly to the fish in the baking dish.
Check the seasoning of the sauce and then add the lemon juice. Pour the sauce over the fish mixture and make sure all the ingredients are well covered.
Boil the peeled potatoes until tender and drain. When cool enough to handle, put the freshly cooked potatoes through the potato ricer into a large bowl. Add the remaining butter, some nutmeg and salt and pepper. Spoon the mashed potato over the fish and carefully spread it out with a fork.
The fish pie can now be re-heated in the oven at the same temperature (200 C) for 30 minutes or until piping hot. Serve with green vegetables and/or carrots. Tomato ketchup – up to you!
Contact details – In Lincoln, Bigger of Bailgate for a great range of kitchen utensils.
Address: 48 Bailgate, Lincoln LN1 3AP.
Tel – +44 (0)1522 525 536
I would love to hear from anyone who would like to make a comment.
Next time – Seville Orange Marmalade