Comfort Food: Simple Fish Pie
All this cold weather we’ve been having has put me in ‘comfort food’ mode and I find few meals as comforting as a homemade fish pie. However, I’ve never been a great fan of potato topped fish pies, finding the combination of creamy potato with creamy fish just a bit too much. My recipe uses a pastry top instead and I think the flaky pastry provides a lovely contrast to the creaminess of the fish mixture. I don’t use any shellfish in my pie due to the fact that it’s not recommended for babies under 18 months, but some prawns or cockles would be a tasty addition.
500g fish, skinless and boneless (I used a mixture of cod, salmon and haddock)
400ml whole milk
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
2 tbsp flour
handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 leek, finely sliced
250g puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 200˚C/Gas Mark 6. Put the fish, milk, peppercorns and bay leaves in a pan and bring to a simmer. Lightly poach the fish for a few minutes until it flakes easily. Remove the fish from the pan then pass the milk through a sieve to remove the bay leaves and peppercorns but reserve the liquid. Flake the fish into bite size pieces, checking for bones as you go. Melt the butter in the pan then add the flour to make a roux. Gradually add the reserved milk and cook until the sauce thickens. Grate in a little nutmeg to taste then add the fish, leeks and parsley and pour into a suitable ovenproof dish. Roll out the pastry, brush the edges of the dish with water then lay the pastry on top of it. Trim and decorate with the off-cuts, letting your imagination run away with you! Bake for 30 minutes, admire you masterpiece then tuck in!