Fish pie is known for its creamy seafood filling and crispy potato top, both of which are incredibly easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.
Of course, a mixture of fresh or frozen fish and cream is essential for any recipe, but for the best flavours, chef Rick Stein recommended taking a “less is more” approach.
Sharing his advice on his blog, Rick said: “The older I get the keener I am to keep ingredients out of recipes instead of adding them. This is as simple a recipe for fish pie as you can imagine but if the fish is good (and that includes the smoked fish which must be of the best quality), there is no better fish dish in the world than British fish pie with boiled eggs and parsley of course.
“Classic fish pie is a great recipe to have up your sleeve for any big occasion. After all, when isn’t a good time for fish pie.”
The chef went on to note that each ingredient plays an important role in the dish, particularly the addition of nutmeg and egg yolk.
- One medium onion, thickly sliced
- Four cloves
- One fresh bay leaf
- 1.2l whole milk
- 600ml double cream
- 900g unskinned pollock fillet
- 450g undyed smoked haddock fillet
- 24 large cooked prawns
- Eight eggs
- 200g butter
- 90g plain flour
- Large handful of flat-leaf parsley chopped
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 2.5kg peeled floury potatoes such as Maris Piper or King Edward
- Two egg yolks
- Salt and freshly ground white pepper
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Start by putting the onion slices and cloves in a large pan with the bay leaf, 900ml of milk, the cream, pollock and smoked haddock.
Bring the mixture just to a boil before turning it down to simmer for six minutes. Then, Lift the fish out onto a plate and strain the cooking liquor into a jug. When the fish is cool enough to handle, break it into large flakes, discarding the skin and bones.
Sprinkle it over the base of a shallow 3.5-litre ovenproof dish before hard-boiling the eggs for eight minutes, then drain and leave to cool. Peel and cut them into chunky slices and arrange them on top of the fish.
Melt 100g of the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook for one minute, then take the pan off the heat and gradually stir in the reserved cooking liquor. Return it to the heat and bring it slowly to a boil, stirring constantly.
Leave it to simmer gently for 10 minutes to cook out the flour. Remove from the heat once more, stir in the parsley and prawns and season with nutmeg, salt and white pepper. Pour the sauce over the fish and leave to cool, and chill in the fridge for one hour.
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Move on to potatoes by boiling them raw for 15-20 minutes. Once cooked, drain them and purée using a hand whisk until the potatoes are lump free and fluffy, then add the remaining butter and the egg yolks.
Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Beat in enough of the remaining milk to form a soft, spreadable mash.
Rick said: “Adding prawns alongside the poached fish provides a sweet, seafood surprise, a good grating of nutmeg in the sauce punches extra flavour and enriching the mashed potato with egg yolk is a great tip for both taste and finish.”
Pre-heat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Spoon the potato over the filling and mark the surface with a fork. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until piping hot and golden brown.
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