14 October 2009
This is for Patti, my sister-in-law, who seems to be in a food rut. I made it last night on a whim and I'm glad I did. I have wanted to make fish pie for ages but have always been put off by complicated recipes -- sorry, Nigel Slater but yours from Appetite was way too complex and Nigella, yours was no better. This is adapted and roughly halved from Jo Pratt's In the Mood for Food, a book I have recommended before. Anyway. This is good and easy and I'm eating the leftovers for lunch today.
Special note to Patti: this has absolutely egg-free.
Also special note for everyone: it isn't really a pie, it's more like a thick, positively unctuous chowder, baked with potato on top.
What you need: milk, 200ml or about 1 cup; butter; onions or leeks or spring onions, whatever you have, finely chopped; bit of flour; parsley, chopped; salt and pepper; lemon; about 200g (a good sized piece) of fresh white fish like cod or haddock; a cup of cooked prawns/shrimp (i.e., they should be peeled and ready to eat); one good slice of smoked salmon; about one cup of grated cheddar cheese (I spiked mine with Parmesan); one sweet potato, peeled. (Note: these portions make enough for about 2 people, with a bit leftover, unless you are ravenous.)
How to do it: Pre-heat oven to 180C or 350F. In saucepan, melt 50g/a good tablespoon's worth of butter and sauté the onion until soft, then add the flour, and let it cook for a minute, and then add the milk, stirring until you have a smoothish sauce. It won't be completely smooth because of the onion. Let it sit on the heat while you cut the fish into chunks, then add the white fish, the prawns, and the smoked salmon (cut into squares). Stir a bit and let it bubble till the white fish starts to be cooked. Add the parsley and salt and pepper and a couple good squeezes of lemon. While the fish gently bubbling, grate the sweet potato -- coarsely; then melt some more butter into a sauté pan and sauté the grated sweet potato for a few minutes. At this point, pour the fish part into a small casserole dish (a deepish one, the one I used was about 15 cm in diameter, which is what, 6 inches?), topping first with the sweet potato, and then with the grated cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes....
I would have eaten this with peas, I suppose, or asparagus, if I could have been bothered. But I wasn't.
image credit - next time I will take a photo of my own