Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Fish Pie

As is often the case with me, i like to foolishly try and make things
from memory, that i have seen on t.v or in some Sunday-supplement
magazine. I realise this is pretty foolish and leads to disaster. It
also sometimes works really well and somehow it almost seems more real
maybe.... Who knows?
The thing i most like doing is to adapt a recipe according to what i
have in the kitchen cupboard at the time. This certainly is
fundamentally more realistic; you're hungry, you want to eat
something, you remember an idea you saw somewhere else and want to
create it. You've completely run out of quail's eggs and you wouldn't
recognise a Chiffonade from a Chiffon Scarf.

To that end, here is my recipe for a fish pie. It's one of the ones
that worked and so i thought i might share it with anybody who feels
inclined to read about it and/or make it.

What's in it:

A Large Fillet of Cod (Skin removed, cut into mouth-sized pieces)
Cooked Prawns (a good handful)
Potatoes (6 good-sized ones)
Spinach (a good handful, steamed and with excess liquid squeezed out
through a clean tea towel)
Frozen Broad Beans (handful)
2 Shallots
1 Clove of Garlic
Dry White Wine (about 2/3 glass or so)
Parsley (good Handful, chopped)
Plain Flour
Single Cream
Vegetable oil
Salt & Pepper
Grated Cheddar and Parmesan Cheese

What you need to do:
The mashed potato.

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them each into 3. Add to boiling, salted water for around 20 mins or until completely soft to the point of a knife.
  • Drain the potatoes, retaining the water in a bowl. Add the broadbeans to the liquid, put to one side.
  • Mash the potatoes adding a little cream and/or milk, salt and pepper. You can decide to mash to a stage with no lumps at all, or roughly mash not so fully - either is good and to personal taste really. Cover and put to one side.
For the parsley buttery sauce (and fish)

  • First you need to make a light roux (don't worry it's not too difficult). Melt a piece of butter (about the size of your thumb) in a pan set on a low/med heat. Add approx 1 tbsp flour and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate the butter and flour. Add flour and stir in the same way until what you have resembles a kind of dough or biscuit crumb. Remove from the pan and compact into a ball, put to one side.
  • Clean out the pan, add some vegetable oil and put over a medium heat.
  • Thinly slice the shallots and finely chop the garlic, adding the shallots and sweating gently for 2 mins before adding the garlic for a further min.
  • Turn the heat up and add the wine. Reduce the heat back to low/med when the alcohol has cooked away (you no longer smell it)
  • Crumble small pieces of the roux into the pan, whisking all the time until no lumps and the sauce starts to get quite thick.
  • Add cream and enough water to thin down a bit. Add the fish and simmer for 1 min or so. Add the beans, prawns, fresh parsley, stir and take off the heat.
Assembling the dish:

  • Set the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3
  • Take an oven proof dish and spread the fish, prawns and sauce evenly over the base.
  • Arrange the spinach in an even layer on top.
  • Spoon the mashed potato on the top, being careful to spread it evenly and not disturb the other layers too much.
  • Grate a good layer of cheddar and parmesan cheese on the top. Place on a high shelf in the oven for 25-30 mins, until the cheese becomes dark, golden in colour. (don't let it burn) .

Great comfort food and it stays hot out the oven for ages, since the potato helps to hold in the heat underneath.


1 comment:

Rachael said...

Ah. Here you've gone and posted it! Im so happy. I will try to recreate your genius this weekend. :-)
Sounds divine.