I hope you've had a fantastic weekend and that your Monday hasn't been so gloomy (it's raining over here but the weather in England is what it is). I've been rustling up a lot of different food and on Saturday I decided to make a favourite childhood dish that I've missed eating. Fish pie is a tremendously easy dish to make and quite literally doesn't take very long to make at all. I make the white sauce from scratch, using the milk I used to poach the fish, which gives it a gorgeous flavour without the need to use any fish stock. I've been eating a lot of meat for a while now, especially chicken ( don't get me wrong, I can't go through a week without it) but a change is always welcome and eating more fish gives any ones diet a bit more variety than the same meal day in day out. I have other fish recipies that I would love to share with you, especially my take on tuna free tuna sandwich which is just divine!!...but back to my original topic and the focus of this post. If you don't like fish and find it difficult to get yourself to eat it, I would suggest trying crab meat or breaded fish patties mixed with peas, carrots and sweetcorn. The latter is extremely easy to make and I will share my method of making these later on. So without further ado, here is how I make a fish pie...
350 grams Cod Fillets
350 grams Plaice Fillets
200ml Thick Cream
2 Bay leafs
1 portion of Green Peas
1 portion of Cauliflower
1 1/2 tbsp Parsley
2 tbsp Mayonnaise
5-6 Large Potatoes (more or less depending on size of dish)
1 tspn Salt
A pinch of pepper
2 tbsp Corn flour (or Sauce flour)
1 liter of Milk & Water (from above)
1 pinch of Salt and Pepper
1. Peel, wash and dice your potatoes and then place them in a pan of boiling water until they become soft ( I make mash in batches and then freeze it for when I need it, lovely use of time on a Sunday afternoon) once soft, you can drain and place them to one side until needed.
2. Whilst the potatoes are boiling, in a deep pan, measure out the milk and water and let it warm up on the stove. As it begins to foam, add the fish, bay leaf, chopped vegetables, parsley, salt and pepper and let it poach on a medium heat, just enough for it to bubble gently, and leave it on the stove for about 10-15 mins.
3. In a separate medium sauce pan, melt half the butter at a medium high heat and add the flour, stirring with a whisk until the flour and butter are fully incorporated. This is our roux for the white sauce. The dough will become more like breadcrumbs, which is our sign that it is ready but don't worry if it remains in the shape of a dough, some flours absorb the butter better than others any way :-) put the pan aside for the moment
4. Drain the fish and vegetables onto a separate plate and save the milk in a jug. Putting the roux pan back on the heat, begin adding the milk a little at a time to the roux until all lumps are gone. A nice trick to see if the sauce is done is if you cover the back of a spoon with the sauce and run your finger down the middle, the streak should remain on the spoon. Add a generous amount of cheese if you like at this stage.
5. Begin preparing the mash by adding the rest of the butter, cream and mayonnaise, some salt and pepper and mash until soft, fluffy and lump free. If you have an egg allergy, you can leave the mayonnaise out or use egg free mayonnaise instead.
6. Place the fish in the sauce and stir well. Place the sauce and fish mix into an oven proof dish and either pipe the mash on top or use a spoon to place the mash evenly over the fish. I like to top the pie with some cheese and breadcrumbs for a crunchy topping but this is optional.
7. Leave to bake in the oven for 30 mins at 180 degrees or gas mark 5 and tuck in whilst it is still fresh ;-)