Best of the best fish pie

Best of the best fish pie
  • Serves icon Serves 4-6
  • Time icon Hands-on time 1 hour. Oven time 30 min

There are fish pie recipes, and then there’s our best of the best fish pie recipe. delicious. food producer Pollyanna Coupland says: “Fish pie has always been a favourite of mine, so I’ve spent years honing this recipe. Swapping milk for a quick stock and packing it with fresh herbs and zingy capers results in a pie that’s brighter yet just as comforting.” Read Pollyanna’s deep dive into creating fish pie perfection.

And then check out all our ‘best of the best‘ recipes, including lasagne, chilli con carne and gratin dauphinois.

 

Nutrition: Per serving (for 6)

Calories
617kcals
Fat
33g (14g saturated)
Protein
43g
Carbohydrates
30g (4.4g sugars)
Fibre
4.4g
Salt
1.4g
Calories
617kcals
Fat
33g (14g saturated)
Protein
43g
Carbohydrates
30g (4.4g sugars)
Fibre
4.4g
Salt
1.4g

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 banana shallot, sliced (keep the peel and trimmings)
  • ½ fennel or 2 celery sticks, sliced (keep the trimmings)
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 large sea bream or sea bass (or 2 small), scaled and gutted
  • 30ml pastis such as Pernod
  • 100ml dry white wine
  • ½ bunch dill, leaves and stalks separated
  • ¼ bunch parsley, leaves and stalks separated
  • ¼ bunch tarragon, leaves and stalks separated
  • 3 medium free-range eggs
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 150g sustainable smoked haddock, skinless, cut into 4cm pieces
  • 150g sustainable trout fillet, cut into 3-4 cm pieces
  • 150g sustainable raw peeled prawns
  • 75g frozen peas
  • 80g baby leaf spinach
  • Finely grated zest 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp capers, chopped

Specialist kit

  • 26cm oven dish

Method

  1. Begin by making your fish stock. Put a large saucepan over a low-medium heat, pour in the oil, then add the fennel seeds, peppercorns, shallot, fennel (or celery) and garlic and fry for 6-8 minutes until the veg is starting to soften. Meanwhile, cut the fillets off the bass or bream. Slice off the skin from each fillet, then cut the flesh into 4cm pieces and reserve in the fridge. Rinse the head, bones and skin under the cold tap to remove any blood.
  2. Once the fennel mixture has softened, pour in the pastis and wine, then simmer until reduced by half (about 5 minutes). Add the fish head, bones and skin, then top up with 600ml cold water, bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the top. Turn down to a gentle simmer, add any reserved peel or trimmings and the herb stalks (save the leaves for the filling), then cook for 30 minutes. Strain the stock through a fine sieve into a large bowl, using a spoon or ladle to squeeze out as much liquid as you can – you should have around 500ml stock.
  3. While the stock simmers, bring a separate large pan of water to the boil and gently lower in the eggs. Cook for 6½ minutes, then lift out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process (keep the pan on the heat). Peel and roughly chop the potatoes for the mash, then tip them into the boiling water along with a big pinch of salt. Cook for 20 minutes, then drain well and leave to steam-dry for 5 minutes.
  4. Push the potatoes through a potato ricer or fine sieve while still hot. Return the potatoes to the cleaned pan with the 40g butter, milk and half the cheese, then beat until smooth. Taste and season with a good pinch of salt, then cover and set aside.
  5. Heat the oven to 170°C fan/gas 5. To make the sauce, melt the butter with the flour in a medium saucepan, stirring to create a roux. Cook for 1 minute, then slowly start whisking in the warm fish stock bit by bit to ensure a smooth sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper, then remove from the heat.
  6. Now it’s time to assemble the pie. Add all the fish, prawns, peas, spinach, lemon zest and capers to the sauce. Finely chop the reserved herb leaves and add them too. Gently stir until combined, then scrape it all into the oven dish. Peel and halve the eggs, nestle the halves evenly into the sauce, then spoon over the mash, spread it out and rough up the top with a fork. Creating a craggy surface will give you nice crispy bits. Sprinkle the top with the remaining cheese, then bake for 30 minutes. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe By

Pollyanna Coupland

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