Friday, June 22, 2007

Fish Pie

Sun 17 June 2007

Until I came to England I'd never had fish pie, and I have to confess I am quite a convert. This month's Australian Gourmet Traveller is, of course, a winter edition - so full of warming, slow cooked comfort food. While we're not sure whether it's summer or winter here in West Yorkshire I didn't fancy having the oven on for hours on end and so ended up sampling the snapper (we substituted coley, a general purpose, cheap, white fish, which is also OK to eat), fennel and potato pot pie.

It does take a while to put together but is fine to assemble in advance (if you're aiming for pretty you may wish to do the potato topping just before you pop it into the oven, as otherwise the potatoes will brown a little). The original recipe is for 6 and I approximately halved it for the two of us.

Take 175mL of milk and bring to the boil with 175mL of vegetable or fish stock then remove from the heat and keep warm.

Melt some butter in a saucepan and add a couple of sliced shallots, a bulb of fennel, sliced and a couple of cloves of garlic, minced. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Add a couple of tablespoons of plain flour and cook out for a couple of minutes, before slowly adding the warm stock and milk mixture. Stir the mix continuously until smooth. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until thick.

Remove from heat and add your fish (skinned and cut into 3 cm cubes) and green prawns (headed, tailed, shelled - I cut ours in half too) and mix well. The recipe suggests to add the chopped fennel fronds, but I didn't have any, nor did I have green onion, but I did add in a big pile of chopped dill.

You can now set this aside until you are ready to cook.

Heat the oven to 180C and, using a mandolin, finely slice enough potato to make a topping (we used Jersey Royals and left the skin on). Layer the potato over the top of the pie and brush with butter.

Bake for 30-35 minutes until the potatoes are golden and it looks done (the recipe says until the fish is cooked, but I don't know how you'd know that!).

We served with steamed broccoli and carrots, and a bottle of Foxwood Dawn Picked viognier (Hoults, £4.99). As a disclaimer, I shall admit that I don't like viognier, and I set Claire the challenge of picking one I would like. This wasn't it. Very toast and butter on the nose, but a lot of citrus on the palate, with a slightly oily/diesely finish and a hint of lychee. Not one I'll be rushing out to buy again, but maybe fans of the grape will love it.

Addendum: I was to find a viognier that I liked only a couple of days later, which was a Condrieu and came in at just four times the price of the Fox Wood. But more about that later!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still find fish pies a little strange, but all the fish pie I had was with salmon - might try a different fish next time.

9:45 am  
Blogger Alex said...

The first fish pie I had was with monkfish (though cod and coley aren't going to be a lot different).

There is an excellent Rick Stein fish pie recipe which is basically fish, potatoes and parsley. The ones I've been able to find on the web seem to all include hard boiled eggs (particularly wrong!) - if I ever spot the recipe I'll try to remember to post it!

6:56 pm  

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