13/01/2019

Family Fish Pie

I'm calling it a family fish pie because this amount will easily serve 4-6. It's worth making a big batch, and then freezing it in individual portions, ready for a late night home from work or two. We’d inherited a freezer full, as someone’s Pa had accidentally ordered 12 packs, instead of 1…

4 large fillets of smoked haddock OR any firm white fish fillet you like.
Enough milk to cover the haddock (around 1.5 pints/850ml) (I think non dairy, goat or lactose free milk will be ok here too)
1 shallot, peeled but left whole
1/4 tsp allspice or 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 bayleaf if you have one – optional
1 small pack cooked prawns
1/2 cup/125g frozen peas
1.5 kg Maris Piper potatoes
56g/2 ounces butter, divided
28g/1 oz plain flour
sea salt
Extra butter
Olive oil
4 hard boiled eggs, cooled and shelled

Fish
Cut each fillet in half crossways so that they fit in your pan.
Pour over the milk, pop in the shallot, bayleaf and the spice. The fish needs to be covered. DO NOT ADD SALT.
Bring to the boil, simmer on low  for 15 minutes, then leave to cool in the milk.
Drain, KEEP THE LIQUID in a jug, and set both aside.

Bechamel Sauce – just use the same pot you cooked the fish in
1 oz/28g butter or margarine or dairy free spread
1 oz/28g flour
The poaching liquor – probably about half of it, but judge as you go
Melt the butter on a low heat. Whisk in the flour, and cook it on the same low heat for a couple of minutes.
Slowly add in the poaching liquid, whisking all the time. It should gradually thicken.
You want it to get to a thickness that will coat the fish and the peas, not swamp it too much.
When it’s as thick as good custard, gently mix in the fish, prawns and peas. If it’s too thick at this point you can mix in more of the poaching liquid.
Pop all the fish mix into an ovenproof dish, making sure you get all the sauce out of the pan.
Cut the eggs in half, and arrange over the fish, pressing them down.
Rinse the sauce pan out with hot water and…

Potatoes
Add the peeled potato chunks to your rinsed pot, add water to cover, a good tsp sea salt, and bring to the boil.
When tender,  drain, mash well with 1 oz butter/marg/spread and a good pinch of sea salt. Taste, and add more if you think it needs it. Black pepper can be added if you like it.
If the potatoes will not smooth out enough, or are too dry, add in some of the poaching milk, 1 x tbs at a time. It needs to be smooth enough to dollop and spread evenly across the fish.
Spread the mashed potato over the top and flatten it if you can.
Use the rounded end of a butter knife or spatula to depress half moons into the mash, all the way across.
Lightly drizzle olive oil all over the top. The mash will absorb it, don’t worry.
Stand your dish on a baking tray in case of overbubble, and bake in a `180C oven for about an hour, or until the potato goes golden.
Take it out, dot with butter/spread and sprinkle very lightly with sea salt flakes.
Bake again until burnished and slightly puffed up.






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