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As easy as (Fish) pie

By April 13, 2015 , , , ,

We're now in Spring and the days are getting longer, but there's still a slight chill in the air. When there's a chill I like to eat comfort food, and comfort food for me is pie, fish pie. I also like meat pies, but fish pie can be a tad more luxurious. You don't just have to have plain old fish such as salmon and cod/haddock but can dress it up with ingredients such as scallops, langoustines, lobster or crayfish.





So depending on your mood and how decadent you want to be, or if you want to surprise your dinner party guests with a luxurious pie, well the skies the limit. It's just a matter of getting the basics right.

I suppose I like fish pie as it is something I didn't have much of growing up. Where I came from fresh fish was in abundance, we didn't live far from the coast and also had access to some excellent fishing from the myriad of lakes locally. Fish was more likely to be cooked by either pan frying or poaching in our house. We also always had fish on a Friday being the good traditional catholic family that we were. I like the idea of having a nice rich sauce and it being topped with mash, the sauce covering up what fish will end up on the fork next so each mouthful is a surprise.

I'll outline a basic recipe and some of the ingredients I like to add to tart the pie up. You can serve this in one large pie dish or if you want to serve individual portions in smaller dishes.





Fish Pie  - the basics, serves 4

200g Salmon fillet cut into large chunks
200g Haddock or cod fillet cut into large chunks


For the roux sauce
50g flour
50g butter
150ml milk
Salt and pepper to season

For the mash
8 medium size potatoes boiled
20ml milk
30g butter
Salt and pepper to season

To make the roux sauce 
Melt the butter, add the flour and cook on a medium heat for 5 minutes
Take the pan off the heat and add the milk slowly whisking all the time to ensure it does not get lumpy
Place back on the heat and continue to stir until it thickens
Season to taste
You should have a pretty firm thick sauce ( the reason for this is that the fish will release juices as it cooks and will loosen the sauce up, if your sauce is too thin you will have a very watery pie)
Allow to cool slightly before adding to the fish

For the mash
Put the potatoes through a ricer (you can use a potato masher, but the ricer gives a better texture)
Add the milk, butter salt and pepper and mix well till you have a smooth mash

To assemble the pie
Place the fish pieces in a buttered pie dish
Season with salt and pepper
Add the sauce and ensure it covers the fish
Next layer the mash on top, start at the outside edges before filling in the middle, it's easier that way
You can also pipe the mash over if you like
Place in a pre-heated oven at 190 celsuis for 40 minutes.

To tart your pie up

I sometimes like to add leeks and cheese to the sauce, simply take 1 leek, finely chop and sauté in butter until soft before adding to the sauce 

For the cheese add 70g grated (or more if you like) cheddar or parmesan.

The sauce can also be enriched with egg yolk (ensure the heat is not too high when adding as you'll scramble the yolk) crème fraiche or cream (20ml) and mustard (1 dessert spoon).

You can also mix some parmesan with breadcrumbs (50/50 mix) and sprinkle over the top of the mash to give a crispy topping.

You can also add smoked haddock or cod, I would advise poaching the fish slightly for about 5 minutes in milk before adding to the pie. 
You can then use the milk that you used to poach the fish in to to make the roux sauce.

If adding ingredients such as lobster,prawns, scallops or langoustines, add them raw, if you cook them beforehand they will overcook and you will end up with tough meat. 
Chop the lobster into bite size chunks before adding to the pie.

Enjoy!






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