Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Excellent Fish Pie Recipe

Slightly messed up by me. We spontaneously had a friend round to dinner on Friday, and I decided to do one of the recipes from January that I haven't recreated yet for the blog. I actually made it twice back then - the first time was a bit stressful because we didn't have a dish the right size, also the potatoes were a tad underdone. But the second time it was great. So I was pretty confident this time...

It wasn't a disaster, just a bit frustrating, because you're supposed to get better at making something the more you do it, not worse. Oy.

The recipe is from another UK book that my sister gave me for Xmas.

The Recipe:Fish Pie
from the Hamlyn All-Colour Cookbook: 200 Make-Ahead Dishes, by Sarah Lewis (seems you can get it over here too)

  • 12 oz salmon fillet
  • 12 oz cod loin [hmm, no idea what that is, I used fillet]
  • 20 fl oz semi-skimmed [i.e. 2%] milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 1.25 lbs potatoes, peeled & thinly sliced
  • 3 tbspn chopped fresh dill
  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 oz plain flour
  • 3.5 oz mature Cheddar cheese, grated [maybe more, and it should be strong]
  • salt & pepper

Serves 4

1. Put the salmon and cod into a large frying pan, pour over enough of the milk to just cover it, then add the bay leaf and a little seasoning. Bring to the boil, then cover and simmer for 8 mins, until the fish flakes when pressed with a knife, adding the leeks for the last 2 mins.

2. Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water for 3-4 mins until just tender [I did it a bit longer to be sure]. Drain, rinse in cold water, and drain again.

3. Lift the fish out of the milk and flake the flesh into large pieces, discarding the skin and any bones. Transfer to a 2 quart ovenproof dish. Strain the milk into a jug containing the remaining milk, and discard the bay leaf. Arrange the leeks on top of the fish, and sprinkle with the dill.

4. Heat the butter in a clean pan, stir in the flour then gradually whisk in the milk. Bring to the boil, whisking until thickened and smooth. Season, and stir in three-quarters of the cheese. Pour half the sauce over the fish. Arrange the potato slices overlapping on top, pour over the remaining sauce, then sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

5. Allow to cool then chill until required. [This is if you're making it ahead of time].

6. Cook in a preheated oven at 350F for 40-45 mins until the top is golden brown and the pie is piping hot. Serve with green beans, if liked.


Well, actually, it was mostly OK, except that something went a bit wrong with the sauce. I think I just didn't cook it long enough, so it was runny, and a bit granular (not lumpy). Any suggestions gratefully received.

Also, might have been a bit heavy-handed with the dill. And maybe could have used more cheese.

One tip - I cooked the fish skin side up, because the first time I made it the skin got a bit stuck to the pan, and I had to pick some scaly bits out of the milk (we don't have a strainer).

And another one - we really couldn't taste the cod, so you might as well get salmon. (I think it's greener, depending on what you buy, of course.)

They suggest an alternative filling that sounds nice: smoked haddock (can you get this in US?) and bacon. Poach smoked haddock in milk as above. Grill 4 oz bacon until crispy, then chop roughly and add to pie with 3 tbspn chopped chives [presumably instead of the dill]. Finish as above.


Fish in pan

Before the topping went on


On the plate, not at all artistically

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