Fish pie

18 Feb

Fish pie

Fish pie is a comforting dish, and one many British people associate with childhood. I can’t recall ever eating one before moving to the UK, but unlike Marmite or Jaffa cakes, you don’t have to grow up eating fish pie to enjoy it.

Making a good fish pie does require care and attention. There are several steps – and several pans – involved. I’ve streamlined my version over the years,  arriving at a fish pie recipe where the final result justifies the effort.

I use a mixture of white fish, salmon, smoked fish and prawns in my fish pie. Smoked haddock is traditional but we’re blessed with hot-smoked salmon at the moment, so I went with that.

If you’re going to the trouble of making fish pie, it might as well be a big one. This recipe feeds six generously, but you could divide it into smaller portions, and freeze some to enjoy a hassle-free fish pie on another occasion.

Fish pie
(serves 6)

  • 750ml milk
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 800g fish fillets (cod, haddock, salmon)
  • 250g smoked fish (haddock or salmon)
  • 250g cooked prawns
  • a large bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 75g butter (plus extra to dot on top of the pie)
  • 75g plain flour
  • salt and pepper

For the mash:

  • 1 kg potatoes, peeled and halved
  • salt
  • 50g butter
  • 25g milk
  1. In a saucepan over a medium flame, bring the milk, onion and bay leaf to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for five minutes, then set aside to cool.
  2. Arrange the fish fillets in a frying pan. Strain the milk over the fish then set over a medium flame. Simmer five minutes, then turn the fish and cook a few minutes more.
  3. Transfer the fillets to a plate and allow to cool. Break the fish into chunks, removing any bones. In a mixing bowl, gently combine the fish, prawns and parsley.
  4. To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium-low flame. Stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, then whisk in the milk used to poach the fish. Cook until the sauce is velvety and thick, then season with salt and pepper.
  5. Pour the white sauce over the fish and carefully mix together. Spread the fish mixture in a baking dish, then transfer to the fridge to cool and firm up.
  6. To make the mash, cook the potatoes in a large pot of salted water. Drain, then mash with the butter and milk.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  8. Spread the mash over the cooled fish mixture, dotting the top with butter. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is firm and golden.

Fish pie

4 Responses to “Fish pie”

  1. Margo February 18, 2016 at 3:55 pm #

    More elaborate than my current recipe, but looks worth the effort

    • Andrea February 18, 2016 at 4:00 pm #

      I’ve tried not infusing the milk in the interest of saving time, but I think it’s worth doing for the boost in flavour…:-)

  2. estherjane13 February 19, 2016 at 4:56 am #

    Oooh yum. I haven’t had fish pie since leaving England a decade ago. I’ll have to make it again. Thanks for the inspiration… and the recipe 🙂

    • Andrea February 19, 2016 at 8:44 am #

      You’re welcome! Fish pie is one of those dishes that just hasn’t made the jump (or swim!) across the pond.

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