Last year when we were staying with the ghastly Mrs Clam, Fanny cooked a delicious fish pie and here is the recipe with the video demo. This is fabulous comfort food and good for a supper dish with family and friends. You won’t have any leftovers!
INGREDIENTS – Serves 6
300g lightly smoked Scottish salmon
225g raw prawns – deveined
medium size (usually 200g) bag of fresh spinach
2 medium onions – peeled and cut into quarters
6 free range eggs
1 litre full cream milk
4 bay leaves
tspn black peppercorns
several sprigs lemon thyme
small bunch parsley
200g frozen peas
bunch of chives
1 large lemon
50ml Vermouth (white, extra dry – not that I would believe any of our gorgeous viewers would have even thought to use the sweet red one at the back of granny’s cocktail chest!)
2 heaped dstsp of flour
fresh cracked black pepper
small bunch (about 4) spring onions – finely sliced, white parts and green
100ml full fat creme fraiche
200g Gruyere cheese, finely grated
1) Start by peeling the potatoes and halving any larger ones – simmer in salted water for 25 mins until really tender. Meanwhile……
….2) Boil a full kettle of water
3) Place the haddock and salmon in a deep wide frying pan – there is no need to cut the fish in pieces or skin it. Stud the onion quarters with 2 cloves each and put these in with the fish, along with the bay leaves, parsley and lemon thyme, nestling the herbs in and amongst. Pour over the milk and sprinkle the peppercorns on. Simmer for 8 mins or so until the fish is just cooked – just translucent and flaky. Leave to cool and infuse.
4) Put the spinach in a colander and pour over the boiling water – set to one side to drain
5) Check the potatoes are done, drain and return to pan to steam dry for a few minutes then mash and add 100g butter, the creme fraiche, Gruyere (reserving about a quarter of it), spring onions and salt and pepper. If it feels too stiff, loosen slightly with a little milk but you don’t want a puree either, as this will tend to cause the mash to sink into the filling below once in situ as the crowning of this fabulous pie.
6) Melt 50g butter in a small jug by microwaving for 40 seconds and switch on the oven to 170C(fan assisted) now
7) if using individual pots, which I highly recommend, arrange a ring of wilted spinach around the bottom of each one, pour a little of the melted butter inside the spinach ring then crack an egg onto the buttered space inside the spinach ring.
8) Using a slotted spoon, remove the fish from the by-now fragrant cooking milk, take the skin off any pieces which have it and flake the fish fillets evenly into the pots, over the spinach/egg on the bottom. You can now arrange the prawns evenly amongst the pots, along with the peas.
9) In a medium size saucepan, melt 25g butter until it’s foaming then add your flour and whisk on a medium heat to make a roux – it should turn no darker than dark golden. Brown means burnt so avoid this. Then strain the cooking milk/herbs mix through a sieve directly into the roux and whisk quickly to ensure a smooth sauce. As the milk will still be hot, or at least quite warm, it should take no time to come up to the boil. Whisk most, if not all the time while continuing to boil for about 5 mins. The consistency you want is a bit thicker than double cream. Add the juice of the lemon and the vermouth, snip in the chives, season well with salt and fresh cracked black pepper and lastly whisk in the remaining 25g butter for the final, glossy touch to this delicious and satisfying but professional and nutritious pie
10) Now pour the sauce over the pots which should JUST submerge the ingredients you’ve already put in.
11) Spoon over the mash direct onto the mix in the pots and top with a sprinkle of the remaining Gruyere (and I cheated for even more “mmmmm” factor by further topping with a couple of teaspoons of fine, home-made breadcrumbs and a few small dots of butter)
12) Place in the oven and bake for 20 mins until there’s a golden crust and some of the sauce is bubbling artistically over the side – you might want to cover the baking sheet in tinfoil as you know my motto of “save the washing up”.
13) Serve still in their own pots to your salivating guests, with naked pride……..as nothing else is needed. Apart from a lovely glass of Chablis or citrussy Muscadet…