It can be as simple or as complicated as you like, but a good fish pie is right at the pointy end of the comfort food pyramid for me.
- boneless and skinless white fish fillets
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 250 ml milk
- 50 g unsalted butter
- 40 g plain flour
- 100 g hot smoked fish, skinned, bones removed and flaked
- 100 g frozen peas
- 1 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
- 150 ml dry cider
- 50 g grated cheddar cheese
- 700 g floury potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 50 ml milk
- 50 g butter
Step 1 Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Step 2 Cut the fresh white fish into chunks and place in a small baking dish. Season with salt and pepper and pour over the milk. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 10 minutes or until nearly cooked through. Drain the fish and reserve the milk.
Step 3 Meanwhile, to make the mashed potato, cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until tender. Drain well, then return the potato to the pan. Add the milk and butter, then mash until smooth and season to taste.
Step 4 Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Add the flour and stir for 2-3 minutes or until the mixture becomes sandy in colour. Gradually whisk in the reserved milk and continue to whisk until the sauce is thick and smooth. Add the poached and smoked fish, peas, parsley, egg and cider, then season to taste and stir until just combined. Take care not to break up the fish too much. Spoon the mixture into a 1 litre-capacity baking dish. Spoon the mash on top and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle the top with grated cheese, then bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbling.
Notes: It must have a mashed potato crust (not puffy pastry) and chopped boiled eggs. Make sure that the fish you buy is super-fresh and sustainably caught.
Source: Image by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by O Tama Carey. Creative concept by Belinda So.