This recipe was originally published in my book Whats4teaMum? as Lowestoft Fish Pie but in these days of ‘catch what you can’ in the supermarkets you can make it with any frozen fish you might have in the freezer. It’s comforting and homely and just what we need in these days of COVID-lockdown. I am officially working from home as opposed to being on Netflix-lockdown so apologies for not posting a new #TheFridayRecipe for a while. This one’s for you, Neil. There are a few steps to get this ready but if you do them in the order I suggest, you should be able to get this onto the table in just over an hour. Totally worth it!
- 600g of fish (fresh or frozen) – cod, smoked haddock, salmon all work very well as a mix or solo. You could add a few prawns if you have them. Skin and cut into generous chunks.
- 2 hard-boiled eggs with a semi-set yolk, peeled and quartered
- Juice of a lemon
- 250ml double cream
- 1 stick of celery, finely chopped
- One banana shallot, finely chopped (use onion if you don’t have shallot but it will just take longer to cook)
- 25g butter
- Optional: 1 large handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1 heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard
- Mash for the topping: Make with a mixture of celeriac and potato if you’re on a carb-restricted diet or plain mashed potato made with about 900g of potatoes, 25g butter, a dash of milk and a handful of grated cheddar.
- Peel the potatoes for the mash (and the celeriac if you’re going half and half), cut into evenly-sized chunks and cook on the hob in a pan of lightly salted water until tender. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer. It takes about 20 minutes depending on the variety of potato you’re using.
- Get the eggs on next – 7 minutes in boiling water should be enough to get a semi-set yolk. Once cooked, remove from the saucepan and run them under the cold tap, peel (roll them on your chopping board first to make them easier to peel) and quarter.
- Next, heat the butter in a pan and once it’s melted and foamy, add the finely chopped shallot and celery and leave to cook on a gentle heat for about 8 minutes until they are soft and sweet. Just give it a little stir if it looks like it’s sticking.
- Meanwhile, lightly butter an oven-proof ceramic baking dish. Cover the base with the fish cut into generous chunks. Tuck the pieces of egg in between the pieces of fish so that each spoonful will yield a nice chunk of fish and egg.
- Preheat the oven to 220°C.
- The shallot and celery mix should be ready now. Take it off the heat, pour in the cream and mustard, mix thoroughly. Stir in the parsley and then gradually stir in the lemon juice. Add a little milk if it looks too thick. Season with a little salt and pepper. Pour it carefully over the fish mixture and then give the dish a bit of a wiggle so the sauce beds down nicely into the fish pieces.
- The potatoes for the mash should be ready now so drain them, leave them a minute or two to let the steam dissipate. Throw in the butter and milk, mash and then whip it up with a fork to make it smooth (I like to add a little grated nutmeg). It needs to be fairly stiff so it holds when it cooks again in the oven and doesn’t disintegrate into the sauce. Top the fish mixture with the mash spoonful by spoonful so it stays evenly distributed. Run a fork over the top so there aren’t any gaps and then scatter with cheese.
- Place the dish onto a baking sheet and cook in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until bubbling and golden on top.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. I like this pie served with green veg – shredded cabbage, wilted spinach, steamed green beans – whatever you’ve got. Yum!
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