Fish pie

Oh I love this pie. It takes a little while to make, but it’s well worth the effort. I know a pastry fish pie can be decisive, so if you’re more of a mash type, then just go ahead with the filling and tuck it in under a mash duvet. It’s all good however you make it. This is the pie that our old friends Jim & Tarsh requested as a final supper before they emigrated to New Zealand many years ago and so consequently I think of them every time I make it now. One day I’ll get to make it for them again! Serves 4.

Spot the upside down pastry fish!

Ingredients

350g mix white/smoked fish

500ml milk

25g butter

2 tbsp plain flour

Handful chopped parsley

1/2 lemon

3 eggs

1 pack puff pastry

Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Put 2 of the eggs in a small saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and bubble away for 6 minutes until hard boiled – run the pan under cold water to cool them a little, then leave to sit in cold water until cool.
  2. Place the fish in a large saucepan or deep frying pan, cover with the milk, pop on a lid and bring to a simmer for 5-10 minutes until the fish is cooked.
  3. Strain the fish but KEEP THE MILK! Put the fish to one side to cool enough to handle.
  4. Using the same frying/saucepan, melt the butter, then quickly stir in the flour to make a paste. Keep stirring and cooking the paste for a couple of minutes, then slowly start adding in the reserved milk a little at a time, stirring and mixing well until smooth after each addition.
  5. Continue like this until you have a thick white sauce – you may need to add a little more milk, or not use up all that you have. Season well.
  6. At this point, peel the boiled eggs, roughly chop them, and throw into the sauce, along with the chopped parsley (you can add chopped capers + gerkins if the mood takes you too).
  7. Flake the fish using your hands to peel off any skin and break it into chunks, removing any bones you find – add to the sauce too, and stir the whole lot together with the juice of half a lemon.
  8. Leave to cool completely.
  9. Heat oven to 220C
  10. Now you have a choice to make – either a) put the filling in a pie dish and add a pastry lid by brushing the edges of the dish with beaten egg, rolling out the pastry, laying it on top and pressing down at the edges, trimming, making a small hole in the centre and bushing with egg all over the top
  11. or
  12. b) Roll out the pastry to a 12″ square, put the pastry on a greased baking tray, then pile the filling in the centre, brush around the edge with beaten egg, then bring all 4 corners together in the centre, pressing together to make a sealed parcel, brushing again with egg all over the top.
  13. Either way, bake for 30 mins until risen and golden, and enjoy your beautiful pie!

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