Sunday, 6 September 2009

Three Fish Pie with Carrots and Peas

Fish Pie - often called Ocean Pie - is one of my favourite dishes. I do vary the recipe quite considerably but this version is the one which I prepare most often. The combination of these three different types of fish and the use of basil instead of the more commonly used parsley gives the dish a very special and unique flavour.

Ingredients (Serves Two to Four People)

1/2lb salmon fillet
1/4lb cod fillet
1/4lb undyed smoked haddock fillet
1lb potatoes
1 pint of milk
3oz butter
3oz plain flour
10 to 12 basil leaves
1 bay leaf
1 celery stalk
1 small carrot per person
1 tbsp frozen peas per person


Peel and chop the potatoes and put them in to a large pot of boiling, salted water. Simmer for half an hour.

When the potatoes are on, chop the fish fillets in to bite-sized pieces and place them in to a separate large pot. Pour in the pint of milk, add the chopped celery stalk and the bay leaf and heat until the milk just reaches a simmer. Turn the heat off, cover the pot and set it aside until the potatoes are ready. The heat already present in the milk will cook the fish.

When the potatoes are done, drain them well and return them to the pot. Add about two tablespoons of milk from the fish and mash well. Put the oven on to pre-heat to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6.

Drain the fish from the milk (reserving the milk!) and remove and discard the celery and the bay leaf. Melt the butter gently in a large saucepan and add the sieved flour to form a roux. Cook the roux for two or three minutes before adding the warm milk in three distinct stages to form a lush sauce. Add the fish pieces and the chopped or torn basil leaves and stir well - but carefully, so as not to break up the fish too much.

Put the fish and sauce mixture in to a casserole dish and very carefully spoon the potato on top, spreading it out as evenly as possible. I always put the dish on a baking tray or sheet before putting it in to the oven, as very often the sauce will overflow around the edges and the baking sheet is far easier to clean than the oven!

Bake the pie for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the potato begins to brown on the top.

After the pie has been on for about 10 minutes, chop the carrots in to 1/2" thick discs and add them to boiling, salted water. Cook for 15 minutes. Cook the peas per the instructions on the packet to be ready at the same time as the rest of your meal, plate up and enjoy!

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