The other night our neighbour arrived with an enormous fish he’d caught at the weekend and smoked at home. We aren’t fisher folk so a freshly caught donated Snapper is a real treat, especially one that has been tenderly smoked to perfection.
We don’t generally go in for fish stews or casseroles as we prefer grilled or baked fish as opposed to fish that is watery or stodgy, I’m not really giving a good explanation here, but, well, we prefer drier fish to more soggy fish – hopefully that gets the point across. But this fish pie is a true exception to the rule. It isn’t watery, stodgy, soggy or dry for that matter, it is the perfect combination of flavour and texture that complements the fish beautifully.
It’s also one of those recipes that I’ve combined ideas from so has no set quantities or measurements. It all depends on your preferences and how many people you are cooking for. I don’t use strong spices or flavours as the smoking has it’s own unique flavour which isn’t to be compromised in any way.
If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on some freshly smoked fish, or the plain variety if you aren’t keen on the smokiness, this is a delicious meal that can be accompanied by either freshly cooked vegetables or a lovely garden salad.
1 onion, chopped
olive oil for frying
salt and freshly ground pepper
potatoes, peeled, chopped, boiled and mashed
bread crumbs (I love Panko bread crumbs) or you can use fresh if you have a food processor
cheese, grated (I used Edam so nothing clashes with the smokiness of the fish)
- Flake the fish, carefully removing any bones or scales that tend to hide in the meat.
- Chop the onion and fry in the olive oil until soft and tender. Add the spinach leaves and frozen peas and gently fry until all are cooked and the spinach is wilted.
- Melt the butter over a low heat on the stove. Add the flour and mix gently until there are no lumps. Allow the flour to cook for a minute or two, stirring all the while. Add the milk and form a roux, stirring while the sauce thickens. Once it has begun to bubble, turn the heat down and add a sprinkling of nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper.
- Peel, chop and place them in a saucepan on the stove. Cover with water and bring the to the boil. Once soft, drain and mash however you normally mash them using butter, milk or water. They must be a very soft spreading consistency for layering over the top of the pie.
- Add the flaked fish to the pie dish. Cover with the cooked spinach, pea and onion ingredients. Pour over the white sauce. Cover with a layer of mashed potatoes. Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top (helps to make it a bit more crispy) and finally, sprinkle the grated cheese over the top.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven at about 180°C for 25 minutes. Turn the grill on for the final five minutes to crisp and brown the topping.