Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fish pie

There's something deeply satisfying about fish pie, it's absurdly simple to make, you can tweak it to your hearts content and you get rewarded with luscious fishy béchamel, tender flakes of fish and crispy crunchy potato topping. Now you could tweak it, put a twist on it, but I like it simple. Béchamel made with milk that the smoked fish has been poached in, boiled egg, potato topping and lashings of butter, in fact butter is probably the second most important ingredient in this pie as there is almost as much butter as fish.

Fish pie
450g Smoked fish, I like using a mix of mackerel and hoki
Bay leaves
2 x 150g Butter
500ml Milk
100g Flour
Mashing potatoes
2 Hard boiled eggs, quartered (do I need to give you instructions? Ok, fill a pot with cold water, put eggs in it, put on heat, boil for 10 minutes, rinse under cold water until cool).

Heat your oven to 180°C.

In an oven-proof dish, place the fish, a couple of bay leaves, and a dozen or so peppercorns, pour over the milk, cover with tinfoil and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. When cooked, remove the fish from the milk and strain, reserving the milk. Pick the skin off the fish and break into bite size pieces.

Peel, boil and mash the potatoes with 150g of butter, season well.

Melt 150g of butter in a pan over a medium heat, add the flour and cook, make sure not to colour the flour at all. Pour in the milk and whisk to avoid lumps. This is a thick béchamel, and wheat flour is a flavour thief so season well! Gently fold the béchamel through the fish chunks and reassess seasoning.

Spoon the fish mixture into your pie dish and nestle in the egg segments, arranging so evenly distributed. Using an offset spatula spread over an even layer of the mashed potato, use a fork to give it some texture, or alternatively you could pipe it on. Dot the top of the pie with plenty of butter, I'm more than sure you can't over do it.

Cook at 200°C for 20–30 minute, or until golden brown and crunchy.


  1. I love fish pie and yours looks fab! Love the presentation as well. That's a thing of beauty. Excessive use of butter? that's my kind of meal :)

    1. Thanks, no such thing as too much butter.

  2. You might have guessed the controversial part would be "How to boil eggs" :) . Cold water? 10 minutes? Following my mother's example (so it must be right) we put the eggs into boiling salted water for 8 or 9 minutes (depending on size) for hard-boiled. For soft-boiled, we've tried both the boiling- and cold-water methods, but you never know if the white's solid until you open it :(. Too many variables and no evidence :). Too much on boiling eggs, too. Sorry :).

    Your fish pie looks good. We always try to get some smoked fish in it, which adds a nice extra dimension.

    1. It's always the simple things! :)

      I like starting the eggs in cold salted water, bring to a boil and then timing for 10 min, mainly because the shells are less likely to crack.

      I've never tried to cook soft boiled eggs from cold water, but usually find 5 minutes in boiling water does the trick for me. My eggs are kept in the fridge which makes a difference too.