Friday, October 14, 2011

Comfort food - Fish pie

Fish pie is a quintessential English dish that when it is done well is for me the ultimate comfort food.  Fish pie was almost ruined for me by the the diabolically bad fish pies they used to make at school.  In fact because of this I did not make it for years.  But watching a Jamie Oliver program a few years ago I decided to block out those bad school memories and make it my own.

I have an old school friend visiting from England this week and as we found ourselves down at Granville Island we decided to put the wonderful fresh fish to good use. I am giving the fish that we bought because it looked fresh that day, but really any mixture of seafood would do. You could use scallops, salmon or any other fish, but I really like it with a little smoked fish as this adds a wonderful slightly salty smoky addition.

Serves 3 to 4

1/2 onion chopped
1/4 cup of butter or margarine
1/4 cup of flour
1 1/2 to 2 cups of milk
handful of chopped parsley
6 large prawns (we used local spot prawns)
1/2 lb of smoked black cod
1/2 lb of halibut
1/2 cup of frozen peas.
4 large potatoes mashed with milk and butter.
2 oz of grated cheddar cheese

Melt the butter in a pot and add the onion, cook on a low heat until the onion is soft and transparent but not coloured in any way.  Add the flour to make a roux and cook for a minute stirring constantly to cook the flour.  Add the milk and stir until it has thickened.  This should be quite a thick sauce about the texture of custard (or pudding in North America) as the fish will release some moisture as it cooks. Add the chopped parsley and stir in.

The sauce ready for the parsley
Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chop up the fish in to equal size pieces and place in a fairly deep baking dish.

Put the frozen peas on top, these are not essential but do make it almost a one dish meal.

Then spoon the sauce over the top.

Plop the mashed potatoes on top in the same way that you would on top of a Shepperd's pie. Then grate a sprinkling of cheddar cheese over the top.

Ready for the oven
Place the pie in a 350 oven for about 25 minutes until the topping is golden and the sauce is bubbling.

The fish that we used in this dish was so fresh it was one of the best fish pies ever! At least in my mind and banished the bad fish pies of Northwood College in the 60's for ever.

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