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The Best Ever Fish Pie
  |  First Published: June 2011



I suppose it would technically be correct to say “arguably the best ever fish pie”, but that would be flying in the face of public opinion. Well, at least the opinions of those who tasted this pie. There were lots of “wows”, “best evers” and “sooo goods” from the tasting panel. So, with a modest blush, here is the recipe for the Best Ever Fish Pie.

If you classify a pie as a piece of pastry in a dish, with lots of filling and another piece of pastry on top and then baked, then this recipe is not strictly a pie. More of a shepherds (or cottage) pie meets seafood option. The potato topping on this pie has a hint (just a hint) of garlic in it and tastes absolutely amazing.

You can use just one sort of fish in this recipe or a variety of fish types. And, indeed, you could also add just a few diced scallops or peeled cooked prawns to the fish mixture just before you add the potato topping.

One of the ingredients in this recipe is ‘about 4 tablespoons of chopped herbs’. Fresh herbs only please, some of the gentler flavoured ones such as thyme, chives, flat leaf parsley (Italian parsley) or tarragon. The tarragon is a winner in this recipe imparting a subtle hint of aniseed to the completed fish pie. Most supermarkets these days have a wonderful array of fresh herbs available.

This Best Ever Pie can be made in a large square baking dish or in small individual dishes.

Handy Hint: please ensure you remove any bones from the fish fillets before cooking.

Ingredients

1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped

750g skinless fish fillets (no bones)

100g small cooked peeled prawns

1 cup white wine

1 lemon, juiced

125g butter

100g fresh mushrooms, finely sliced

1 cup thick cream

1 tbsp mustard powder

Freshly ground salt and pepper

4 tbsp fresh herbs, finely chopped

750g mashed potatoes, for the topping

Steps

(1) Peel and cube potatoes and place them in a large saucepan of lightly salted water. Bring to the boil and reduce the heat. Add one whole peeled clove of garlic to the saucepan as well. The garlic will soften as the potatoes cook and add a hint of delicious garlic to the mash that is topping your fish pie.

(2) While the potatoes are cooking, you can prepare the filling for your pie. Lay the chopped onion in a layer across the bottom of a large saucepan. Lay the fish fillets on top of the onion in an even layer. The layer can be a few fish fillets thick, it does not have to be a single layer. Pour the wine and the lemon juice over the fish fillets and randomly scatter 100g of butter cubes across the top of the fish. Cover the saucepan with a lid and simmer for a few minutes until the fish is cooked.

(3) Preheat your oven to 350F/180C.

(4) Heat a small frypan over a low heat. Add the rest of the butter to the pan and sauté the sliced mushrooms until they are softened. Season the mushrooms with a little salt and pepper.

(5) When the fish is tender, carefully transfer it, using a wide egg lifter or similar, to a ceramic baking dish. Scatter the prawns or scallops across the top of the fish.

(6) Add the cream to the onions and remaining liquid in the fish cooking saucepan and continue to cook, with the lid off the saucepan, for about 15 minutes or until the sauce is thickened. Add the mushrooms, mustard and chopped herbs to the creamy sauce and stir well.

(7) Pour the sauce over the fish and top with the creamy garlic mash. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes for the larger dish and about 10-15 minutes for individual dishes. The filling is cooked and so you are just giving the topping a golden crunch.

To prepare the mash:

When the potatoes are tender, drain them well and return them to the saucepan. Heat about a cup of milk or cream until the liquid just warm. Mash the potatoes using either a potato ricer or potato masher until smooth and lump free. Add a generous tablespoon of butter to the potato mash and stir well to incorporate the butter through the potatoes. Now add the warmed milk or cream a little at a time until the potato mash reaches your desired consistency and spread across the top of the pie.

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