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 switched my allegiance to Jamie Oliver’s hearty mashed potato topped version with wilted spinach and boiled eggs tucked in amongst the fish. This smoked haddock and prawn version with its white wine and cream sauce and light crunchy gratin topping is my new favourite.
- 700g skinned 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 over 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 smooth white sauce. After a few minutes, add the cream and heat through for another couple of minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary – 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 not thin and runny. Pour it over the fish in the gratin dish.
- Scatter the breadcrumb and cheese mixture evenly over the fish mixture. Put it under the grill and allow it 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 French beans or tender stem broccoli.
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