Winter arrived this week in Wales with a frost and an icy chill that some people like to call "bracing". I rode my little boy to his nursery school one morning – stopping only to warm up his hands as I’d ignored his mother’s smart suggestion (in hindsight of course) to put on his mittens.
On the ride to my office, as I was thinking of ways to mitigate my parental guilt and make up for freezing my son, it dawned on me: Fish Pie, the perfect "welcome to winter" family meal.
This is a recipe I got from my mum. She calls it Extraordinarily Good Fish Pie and, trust me, it lives up to the billing. Dylan already loves it but our 10 month old, ZeZe, had never tried it before. How would she take to the comfort tastes of salmon, smoked haddock and mashed potato? I think you can guess the answer.
What You Need
12 oz Smoked Haddock (or another smoked white fish)
12 oz Salmon fillets
1 pint of milk
6 oz mushrooms
2 oz of butter
2 oz flour
juice of 1/2 lemon
half a cup of frozen peas
salt and pepper
1 lb potatoes
butter and milk for mashing
4 oz of gruyere or mature cheddar cheese
Prep and cook time – 60 minutes
How You Do It
Boil the potatoes. In a large saute pan, simmer the fish with the milk for 10 minutes or until the fish is flaky. Strain and reserve the milk. Skin and flake the fish (take extra time to remove any bones from the haddock!!)
Rinse the saute pan, melt the butter and add the flour and cook for one minute before blending in the reserved milk. Add the mushrooms and simmer for three minutes.
Add the lemon juice, peas and flaked fish. Taste the mixture and add salt and pepper as necessary (less depending on the age of your diners).
Place the fish mixture into a shallow greased ovenproof dish.
Drain the potatoes then mash with the milk and butter and three quarters of the cheese + salt and pepper. The mash should be very smooth. Add a layer of mashed potato on top of the fish mixture and top with the remaining cheese.
Cook in a preheated oven (425 F /220 C) for 30 – 30 minutes until the topping is golden brown.
Serve, blow on dish liberally to cool down for smaller mouths then sit back and admire the apocalyptic devastation as your children devour the Fish pie with utensils, hands….whatever they can use to cram it in their mouths fast enough.
Have a glass of chilled white wine with your partner, then toss a coin to see who’s going to clear up the mashed potato that’s now all over the wall…..