I love a creamy, rich fish pie. It’s real cold day comfort food. I used to be a Delia fish pie fan and then I preferred Jamie Oliver’s hearty mashed potato topped version with wilted spinach and boiled eggs tucked in amongst the fish. This elegant and simple haddock and prawn version with its white wine and cream sauce with a light crunchy gratin topping is my new favourite and good enough for a dinner party I think, although you could top it with buttery mash if you really wanted to. This amount should feed 4 people served with green vegetables. Simply halve the amount of fish and the volume of the sauce specified here for two generous portions, or double it for 6 to 8 servings.
You will need…
- 700g skinless smoked haddock fillets (the natural smoked colour not the dyed yellow kind), all bones removed
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 180g raw jumbo prawns
- 25g butter
- 25g plain flour
- 70ml dry white wine
- 350ml milk
- 200ml double cream
- 100g grated Gruyère cheese
- 100g white breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the haddock in the bottom of an oven-proof dish large enough to lay the fillets flat without overlapping. Tuck the bay leaves and quarters of onion in between the fish pieces. Cover with the milk and place in the oven for 10 minutes – just long enough to infuse the milk and cook the fish through. Scatter the prawns on top. They should cook through slightly and go from grey (raw) to pink. Both the fish and the prawns will get another few minutes cooking at the end so you don’t need to overdo it at this stage. Remove from the oven after 10 minutes and allow to cool slightly.
- Whizz up the breadcrumbs in a food processor and mix thoroughly with the grated Gruyère cheese. Set aside.
- Lightly butter a medium sized gratin or dish pie. Lift the fish and prawns carefully out of the milk and arrange it evenly across the base.
- Pass the remaining milk through a sieve and discard the bay and onion.
- Preheat the grill to 200°C.
- Melt the butter on a medium heat in a small non-stick pan, add the flour and combine to make a smooth roux. Stir it for a few minutes to cook out the flour. Add the wine, stir to combine and then gradually add the milk to make a white sauce. After a few minutes, once it’s a thick, creamy consistent, add the cream and heat through for another couple of minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning although the smoked fish should make it salty enough without needing to add more. It should be thick enough to cling to the fish and prawns when you pour it over them in the gratin dish not thin and runny.
- Scatter the breadcrumb and cheese mixture evenly over the creamy fish mixture. Put it under the grill and allow to crisp and brown. The heat should be enough to get the sauce underneath bubbling and cook the fish and prawns right through.
- Serve immediately on warmed plates with green vegetables such as French beans or tender stem broccoli.
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