This meal has my mother’s name written all over it. She was a busy woman when we were growing up and had neither the time nor the inclination to put hours into cooking for us children five nights a week. Fish pie, however, was her stand out success. My brother and I would give each other a knowing smile when this turned up on the supper table, safe in the knowledge that our bellies would be stretching themselves to fit in seconds of this oozy, potatoey, smoky fish pie.
It might seem like an extravagant dish to be putting on a thrifty food blog, but fish does not have to be expensive. A large blue grenadier fillet and a whole smoked trout set me back $11 at the Queen Vicky, and I will be using it in three meals.
See this dish as part of a MEAL PLAN
Prep time: 1 hour
450g fish – smoked trout and blue grenadier in this case (I always like to include at least one smoky fish)
1 small carrot
2 celery stalks
4 parsley stalks
4 soft boiled free range eggs
3 medium sized potatoes
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups milk
handful of parsley leaves
handful of strong, hard grated cheese
olive oil for frying
salt and white pepper
First thing’s first, peel, chop and boil your potatoes. This will take about 15 minutes. Pop in the eggs with 5 minutes left so you don’t have to wash up two pots!
While the potatoes are boiling away, in a medium sized frying pan heat a little olive oil over a medium-low heat. Add in the finely diced carrot, celery and onions – you really want all these vegetables to be about the same size, so don’t skyve off during prep time, put in the effort! Sweat the mirepoix (this is a rather fancy word for chopped onions, celery and carrot) for about three minutes while you chop the leeks into thin rounds. Once the vegetables have softened slightly add in the leeks, and finely chopped parsley stalks.
Next, add in 40g of butter to the pan. Once melted add in the cornflour, making sure all the vegetables are nicely coated. Cook out the flour for a couple of minutes only before turning the heat down to low and gradually adding in the white wine and milk. You need to be patient here, adding in the liquid a trickle at a time, allowing the cornflour time to absorb it. It’s easy enough to do this with a wooden spoon, but if you’re not confident, reach for the whisk and whatever you do, don’t stop stirring!!
Once all the milk has been added and you have a thick white sauce, season with salt and white pepper, and add in the parsley leaves and fish (cut into bite sized chunks). Allow to simmer while you mash up the potatoes (with a knob of butter, but absolutely no milk) and peel the eggs.
Place the eggs into the pie whole and top with the mashed potatoes. Finally, get the grill on and grate a handful of strong hard cheese on the top. Grill until golden and crisp.
Prawns (if you’re feeling rich!)
Grated lemon zest
Spinach leaves add in a healthy element.
Peas. What else!