Fish Pie No. 3 - Joe

Chef's perks
Finally the third in the fish pie triumvirate and another that really shows up Jamie Oliver's I think. Joe usually makes this when we are staying in the cottage in Blakeney, North Norfolk where you can get lovely fresh fish and all the other ingredients just by walking into the village. We always majorly overeat in Norfolk and when the boys were making this I thought I'd never be able to fit any in... but of course I did. There were no leftovers. It's also amazing what wonders happen in the kitchen while we girls were gossipping... and how much local ale gets drunk. For once Joe's bladder was fuller than mine during the night.

I put Tom in charge of being blog photographer and he took loads of pictures so this may be a rather picture heavy post but the recipe itself isn't exactly that complicated so the photos will be something nice to look at! Joe and I are going back to Blakeney next weekend for a friends wedding - as there will be only two of us there will be no excuse for quite such excessive over-indulgence!

What makes this pie amazing is the creamy mash (no Jamie I don't agree that it should be lumpy and 'rustic') the good amount of parsley and the fish-infused white sauce.

Joe's Fish Pie

Serves 4

450g white and smoked fish, skin on
1kg potatoes
parsley
4 eggs, hard boiled
180g cheddar cheese, grated
50g flour
50g butter, plus extra for the mash
400ml milk, and a little extra for the mash
salt
pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.

You can use prawns in this if you wish but Clare who was staying with us hates them (and calls them 'babies fingers') so we left them out. You can ask the fishmonger to remove the skin for you and package it up separately, you will need to flavour the sauce though. We were cooking this on an Aga so I've amended the heat and times to be for a normal oven. You will need a large ovenproof dish.

We chose smoked haddock, plaice and a tiny bit of cod


1. Peel and cut up the potatoes to roughly the same size. Put them on to boil. You can hard boil the eggs at the same time. I put them in cold water and bring to the boil, once they are boiling I count to 30 switch the heat off and leave for 12 minutes. Then drain and cover with cold water.

Potatoes and eggs boiling on the Aga

2. Chop up the fish and place in the bottom of the dish. Season well then chop and scatter the parsley over the top.

Seasoning the fish


3. When the eggs are ready slice them up and scatter them over the top of the fish and parsley.

Arty shot of parsley... thanks Tom

4. Make a roux with the butter and flour, then remove from the heat and add the milk, a little at a time, whisking continuously to avoid lumps.

Melting the butter for the white sauce


5. When the sauce is ready drop in the fish skins and leave on the heat stirring gently for 10 minutes or so for the flour taste to cook out and to let the fish infuse with the sauce.

White sauce with fish skins


6. Sieve the sauce directly over the fish, eggs and parsley and discard the fish skins.



7. When the potatoes are parboiled mash them adding milk and butter until it's smooth.

The dog is obsessed with fish... she may be part seal


 8. Push the mash over the top of the pie and then sprinkle the grated cheddar over the top.

Pre-oven pie


9. Cook in the oven for about 30-40 minutes or until just beginning to turn golden on top. In the Aga we do this for ten minutes in the top (hot) oven and then half an hour in the cooler oven at the bottom.
Clare and the pie (and me being fat on the sofa) there are peas in the fish pan...


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