We’ve been making Jamie Oliver’s Fantastic Fish Pie for years, and I see Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a similar recipe in his new comfort food book. But tonight I decided not to look at that, and busked my own new twist on the humble fish pie, that was by far the best yet.
- 1 onion
- 1 stick of celery
- 1 big carrot
- 7 potatoes
- 4 fillets of frozen suspiciously generic white fish (don’t ask)
- 4 fillets of frozen smoked fish e.g. haddock
- A splash of milk
- Approx 150ml double cream, possibly slightly old
- Approx 100-200g cheddar cheese, no idea how much really
- 2 eggs
- 8 nuggets of frozen spinach
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
- pinch of mixed herbs
- pinch of smoked paprika
- Optional: few fennel seeds, a very few threads of saffron
- Butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, smooth mustard, grain mustard
- Optional tomato ketchup
For the sides
- A bowl of frozen peas
- 10 leaves of cavolo nero
- 1 spring onion
- lemon juice
Put the oven on 200C, fan 180C
If the cavolo nero has just been picked from the allotment, as ours had, put the leaves in a bowl of salted cold water.
Peel and dice the potatoes, boil with salt and the eggs until the potatoes are soft and the eggs are hard.
Meanwhile, finely chop or food process the onion, celery, carrot. Fry in oil in an oven-proof pan until soft. Add the fish, spinach, black pepper, bay leaf, smooth mustard and a splash of milk. Put the lid on and simmer until the fish is cooked and falling apart.
Then take the lid off, sprinkle in the flour, herbs, paprika, any other spices and add the cream. Reduce the mix by stirring and simmering with the lid off.
When the mix looks gloopy, remove the bay leaf. Mix in the diced cheese. Halve the peeled eggs and place 4 halves in a cross so everyone gets half an egg.
Drain and mash the potatoes with a knob of butter, pepper and a large teaspoon of grain mustard.
Spread the potato on top of the fish mix, put lines in it with a fork and bake in the oven for half an hour or so until it starts going crispy.
Slice the spring onion into chunky diagonals and fry in olive oil, butter and pepper. When they are soft at the sliced cavolo nero. Slice the stems thinner than the leaves. Fry until wilted, add a squeeze of lemon juice.
Zap the frozen peas for around 3 or 4 minutes in the microwave, drain and serve.
Dish up the pie, cavolo nero and peas with a squirt of ketchup and a glass of white wine.