Today, my dinner is taking me to Western Europe where I’m going to have fish pie, a traditional English dish that I love enjoying in the colder months. It’s super hearty and loaded with good for me fish and veg. I like to think about it like Shepard’s Pie, but with fish.
Traditionally, there are two kinds of fish in it, one usually being smoked along with the shrimp. I personally don’t like smoked fish, so I used a plain cod instead. But you could use haddock or any hearty smoked fish here too! As for shrimp, popcorn shrimp is so sweet, which I why I like using them in here. They’re also the perfect bitesized shape.
Don’t get turned off by the slightly strange process of soaking the fish in milky, oniony broth – it really makes all the difference. And this dish is delicious, I promise!
- 3-5 large russet potatoes, peeled and chopped small
- 6 oz butter, divided
- 2 cups + 4 tablespoons milk, any kind
- Pinch salt and white pepper
- 1 pound white fish, either cod or haddock
- 1 onion
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cloves
- 2 leeks, washed and chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 3 ounces popcorn shrimp
- 2 oz frozen peas
- 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
- 1 lemon, zested
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Boil potatoes until tender. Drain and mash them with 2 oz of butter and 4 tablespoons milk and season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
Heat remaining 2 cups of milk in a large pan, then add the fish.
Cut the onion in half, make an incision in one of the halves and insert the bay leaf. Push the cloves into the same onion half and place this into the pan with the milk and fish. Bring the milk to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 6–7 minutes.
Meanwhile, finely chop the remaining onion half and the leeks. Heat the butter with the olive oil in a small frying pan and gently fry the onion and leeks for 4–5 minutes, until softened but not browned.
Remove the fish from the pan, and set aside to cool slightly. Keep the milk in the pan.
Add the flour to the leeks and stir well. Fry for 1 minute, stirring frequently. Gradually spoon in the milk from poaching the fish, and stir it in well each time. Add all the milk in this way, and heat gently until the sauce has thickened. Taste the sauce for seasoning, and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
Break the fish into chunks, being careful to feel for any bones and remove any skin, then fold the fish pieces into the sauce. Add the shrimp and frozen peas to the mixture.
Place an ovenproof pie dish onto a baking tray (this will catch any of the mix that bubbles over when cooking). Spoon the fish mixture into the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle the parsley and lemon zest over the top.
Carefully top with the cooled mashed potato. Use a fork to spread the mash over the pie and create a rough texture on top. Dot the pie with the remaining half of the butter and place in the oven for 25–30 minutes, or until golden-brown and bubbling.
- Remove from oven once fully cooked and enjoy!