When I was a little kid I spent years ordering the ‘kids menu’, usually compiled of fries and some type of chicken or processed meat. Until one night, in France when I had just start to hit puberty, I saw a very dainty French lady daintily deconstruction a whole trout.
I ordered the same and copied her every move and then spent years ordering whatever fish was available. Needless to say I got very excited when I discovered the UK had not just fish cakes, but also fish pie! Fish in a creamy sauce, topped with mashed potatoes? What’s not to love?
Of course I’ve matured a little since then and now order whatever tickles my pickle. In the mean time fish pie has become one of my favorite winter comfort foods. It’s warm and creamy and fishy and you can slap it together in endless variations.
It’s important to keep in mind virtually all the ingredients below are optional.
- 1 filet of fish of choice, cut into bite sized chunks, I like salmon
- a handful of large prawn, frozen or fresh
- 1 c of mussels, frozen or fresh
- 1 c of green beans, sugar snaps, peas or spinach
- a handful of roughly chopped baby carrots
- 1 bunch finely chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1/2 c white wine
- 1 c milk
- 1 c grated cheese
- 6 large potatoes
- another slice of unsalted butter
- a dash of milk
- salt and pepper
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks, bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or so until tender.
While your potatoes are cooking. Take an oven proof dish and spread out the fish, prawn, mussels, carrots, greens and parsley, or whatever you’re using. You want to distribute everything quite evenly so no matter where you stick your spoon you will get a good mix of things in the end.
Make the sauce
Now melt your first helping of butter in a small saucepan. Once the butter has melted, add in the flour and stir vigorously until the butter and flour have come together. Add the wine and keep stirring while slowly adding the milk. Now keep stirring on a medium heat until the sauce starts to thicken, before adding the cheese until fully melted. Finish the sauce by seasoning it heavily with fresh ground black pepper and plenty of salt before ladling it onto your fish and veg mixture.
Once the potatoes are cooking, mash them to a consistency of your liking with the remainder of the butter and milk and plenty of pepper and salt. Use the potatoes to cover the fish. You can be slap dash or pretty with it, whatever works for you.
Finish your fish pie by baking it in your preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until the top is nice and golden brown and the sauce is oozing out and aggressively bubbling up the side.
A word on ingredients
So I like mine with salmon, prawns and mussels, some carrots and a rando green but you can of course have this with whichever fish combo you like or have available to you. I do recommend firmer fish so it doesn’t fall apart completely and offsets the mush that is the mash and sauce combination.
Of course you’re also free to add more or less cheese and omit the wine.