Fish pie with peas

Fish pie with peas

More Home Comforts
Peter Cassidy

I’ve been privileged in my time to work with some of the best and most influential chefs and cooks that Britain has ever produced. One of these was the late, great Marguerite Patten, not only a wonderful person but a highly knowledgeable cook with thousands of books and leaflets sold. She was one of the people who gave people something to look forward to at the dinner table after the Second World War. Marguerite was an inspiration to so many and will be sadly missed. This simple fish pie is a tribute to her.


Quantity Ingredient
8 baking potatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
rock salt
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
500g smoked haddock, boneless and skinless
400g haddock, boneless and skinless
400g cod, boneless and skinless
200g unsalted butter
3 heaped tablespoons plain flour
475ml milk
1 lemon, zested and juiced
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
250g frozen cooked peeled prawns, defrosted and drained
200g frozen peas


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Prick the potatoes all over with a fork, then rub with a little oil and set on a bed of rock salt in a tray and bake for 1–1½ hours, or until tender.
  3. Half fill a deep sauté pan with 1 litre of water and set over a high heat, then add the onion, black peppercorns and bay leaves. When it’s simmering, add the smoked haddock, haddock and cod, return to the boil, then gently simmer for 3–4 minutes.
  4. Lift the fish out with a slotted spoon into a colander set over a large bowl, then place the colander on a plate to catch any other juices. Place a fine sieve over the bowl and strain the cooking liquor into it, discarding the onion, peppercorns and bay leaves.
  5. Clean the pan out and return to the heat. Add 100g of the butter and when it’s melted, add the flour and cook for 1 minute until light golden-brown. Add 50ml of the milk and mix to a paste, then add another 350ml of the milk and cook until thickened.
  6. Add 750ml of the reserved stock to the pan and cook for 5 minutes until the sauce is smooth and just thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Discard the rest of the stock, or chill it and use in another dish. Add the lemon zest and juice, season to taste with salt and pepper, then remove from the heat.
  7. Flake the fish into the sauce, keeping it in reasonably large pieces, then add the parsley and lightly mix together. Add the prawns and stir through, then spoon into a large ovenproof dish. Turn the oven up to 220°C.
  8. When the potatoes are cooked and just cool enough to handle, cut them in half, scoop out the flesh and pass through a potato ricer into a sauté pan. Warm up with 75g of the butter and the last 75ml of milk – it needs to be a smooth thick mash, not too soft – beating until smooth. Spoon the mash into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe over the top of the fish.
  9. Place on a baking sheet in the oven and bake for 5–10 minutes until golden and hot through. (Or, if preparing in advance and chilling, bake for 30 minutes until piping hot.)
  10. While the pie heats through, bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add the peas and cook for 2–3 minutes until tender. Drain and return to the pan, add the remaining butter and season to taste.
  11. Serve the pie with the peas.
Home Comforts
British food
classic recipes
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