Delicious Fish Pie.

I can never understand why most fish pie recipes require you to pre-cook the fish in milk, then subject it to 30 minutes in the oven.

No wonder the fish is often chewy or turned into mush. A nicer and much quicker way is to bake it from raw.

Invest in a bottle of Noily Prat, that, rather than the type of stock, is what gives the sauce its flavour.

Ingredients for fish pie.

2 large shallots or 1 onion, peeled and chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

40g butter

1 large thyme sprig, leaves only

4 tbsp Noily Prat or dry vermouth

2 tsp Pernod (optional)

4 tbsp plain flour

250ml fish, chicken or vegetable stock (a stock cube works fine)

200ml milk

4 tbsp double cream

3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

180g skinless salmon fillets

250g skinless cod or haddock fillets

200g queen scallops

150g king prawns

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

For The Mashed Potato Topping.

750g Desiree potatoes, peeled

75g butter, cubed

50ml hot milk

2 large egg yolks

75g medium cheddar cheese, grated.

Preparations for fish pie.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 C. Grease a shallow (about 2-litre capacity) pie dish.
  2. Start by making the mashed potato for the topping. Chop the potatoes into chunks and cook in boiling salted water until tender. Drain well and push through a potato ricer, or mash until smooth. Add the butter and hot milk and mix until well incorporated. Allow cooling slightly, then stir in the egg yolks. Season well and set aside.
  3. Saute the shallots or onion in the oil and butter with the thyme leaves for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the Noily Prat and Pernod (if using), then cook for 4-5 minutes until reduced right down.
  4. Stir in the flour and cook for a minute or so. Heat the stock in a small pan or a jug in the microwave. Gradually stir it into the shallot mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth, and boil for another 5 minutes until reduced by a third. Mix in the milk, lower the heat and simmer for a few more minutes. Season well, then add the cream and parsley.
  5. Meanwhile, cut the salmon and cod into bite-sized chunks and scatter them in the pie dish with the scallops and prawns. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and seasoning. Put the dish on a baking sheet.
  6. Pour over the sauce and mix with a fork. Spread the mashed potato on top and fluff it up with a fork. Scatter with the grated cheese and put the pie in the oven immediately. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180 C and bake for another 20 minutes, turning it browns unevenly. Allow standing for 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy your meal.