Fish pie

Fish pie

By
From
Mr & Mrs Wilkinson's How it is at Home
Serves
4 plus leftovers
Photographer
Patricia Niven

MR: Ah, fish pie. I can kind of remember watching my first cooking show, I think it was Gary Rhodes or Rick Stein, and they were making one – it looked amazing. We love this in our household, though I don’t add the chopped herbs to the sauce any more as the kids, for some reason, won’t eat green flecks (the little buggers). Oh, and it should go without saying but a fish pie needs to have lots of big chunks of fish in it, so don’t skimp here.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 litre water
1kg white fish fillets (i use rockling or flathead), cut into 3–4cm chunks
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 white onion, diced
1 small fennel bulb, sliced
90g salted butter
90g plain (all-purpose) flour
250ml milk
zest and juice of 1 lemon
salt flakes and cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon each chopped dill and parsley

Mash topping

Quantity Ingredient
750g all-purpose potatoes, cut into rough chunks
50g salted butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 free-range egg

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

    Get your mash topping started first. Place the potato pieces in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over a high heat and cook for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft and can be easily pierced with the point of a sharp knife. Turn off the heat and drain the potatoes, then return them to the pan and leave it on the hob to dry out. Using a potato ricer or masher, mash the potatoes until smooth, then whisk in the butter, milk and egg. Set aside.

    Meanwhile, bring 1 litre water to the boil in a large saucepan. Add the fish pieces, remove from the heat and leave to poach for 5 minutes. Carefully remove the fish using a slotted spoon and set aside on a plate, then strain the poaching liquor (you’ve just made a fish stock!) and measure out 500 ml, saving the remainder for soups or risottos.

    Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the celery, carrot, onion and fennel and sauté for 5 minutes until softened. Increase the heat to high, add the butter and, once melted, stir in the flour. Cook for 2–3 minutes, stirring, to form a paste (roux). Reduce the heat to medium then add the fish stock and milk a few ladlefuls at a time, stirring all the while, until all the liquid has been added and the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and zest and season to taste, then stir in the chopped herbs.

    Pour the sauce into a 30 x 22 x 5 cm pie dish, arrange the fish pieces over the top and mix them into the sauce gently. Spread the mash carefully over the top (you could pipe this on if you’re feeling cheffy, though I wouldn’t bother), then pop the pie into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the potato is nicely browned on top. Serve.
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