Recipe: Fish pie with cheesy mash topping
Some people take a conservative approach to this dish, but I think that a bit of cheese in the mash topping goes down a treat—and it’s one of the few dinners where I condone ketchup on the plate, too.
Serve with a big bowl of green peas or steamed leeks, and enjoy the luxury of proper comfort food. Serves 4
- 750g potatoes (King Edward)
- 300g cod (see chef ’s note below)
- 200g smoked haddock
- 1 bay leaf
- 5 peppercorns
- 500ml milk
- 40g butter
- 40g plain flour
- Seasoning: 1tsp mustard, squeeze of lemon, salt, pepper
- 120g Cheddar, grated
- 25g butter
- You'll also need a pie dish: 20 x 28cm
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into bite-sized chunks. Put them in a pan of salted water, then bring to the boil and simmer for 15–20 minutes.
- Put the fish in a small saucepan with the bay leaf and peppercorns, and pour the milk over. Bring it to the boil, and then immediately reduce to a simmer. Gently poach for 5–6 minutes, then strain the poaching milk into a jug. Discard the bay leaf and peppercorns, and flake the fish into a pie dish.
- Rinse the pan used for the fish, and melt the butter in it. Add the flour. Stir and cook for 45 seconds on a very gentle heat.
- Start adding the poaching milk—one tablespoon at a time to start with, stirring as you go—and then in bigger sloshes. Once all the milk has been added, simmer for 1–2 minutes, stirring the whole time.
- Season the white sauce with mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Pour the sauce into the pie dish and fold the fish through it. Set aside to settle.
- Drain the potatoes and mash in the butter and three-quarters of the grated cheese. Spoon the mash on top of the fish pie, and then use the back of a spoon to push it into a pie lid.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Put the pie on a tray and bake for 25 minutes.
Read more: A-Z of white fish
People have long been wary about cooking with cod, but it came off the conservation “red list”18 months ago. It’s a lovely white fish for a pie, though there are lots of lesser-known varieties, which also have firm white flesh—such as pollock, coley or whiting.
Adding an additional smoked fish, such as haddock, enhances the flavour and savouriness.
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