[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

Fish Pie
31 January 2013
[Fish Pie]

The last time but one that I was in England, I was staying at some friends' house, and, one night, one of them made fish pie for dinner. Warm and filling, it stuck with me - literally for a few days, figuratively for a couple of years now. A recent cold snap brought it to mind again, and I decided to take a stab at it.

As with so many regional specialities and peasant foods, there are manifold variations. I opted for a fairly straightforward version that would be good on a cold day and which would let the character of the fish make itself apparent. [Lots of pictures]

Fish Pie

First, make your mashed potatoes. Boil the potatoes until soft. Mash with a little butter or milk. You want a smooth but thick mash. Canonically, one should peel the potatoes first, but since I have little use for potato peelings and no compost heap, I just mash the potatoes with the skin on. Also, I'm using fingerling potatoes since that's what I got from my CSA, and peeling them would be a pain in the tuchus. Peeled potatoes will give the final product a more consistent white colour, which may be important to you. Or perhaps not.

Cut your onions and carrots into small dice. 1/4" cubes are about right, but don't worry about a bit of imprecision.

Now, about the fish. It should be a mix of fish and/or shellfish, as many kinds as you like. I recommend something in a firm-fleshed white fish, myself, but opinions vary. For this pie I used about equal parts of cod and smoked whitefish. The smoked fish was an excellent choice, adding some lovely notes to the flavor profile. I toyed with using smoked kippers, which would probably work, but the whitefish was in a better sized package, and I felt that it would easier to remove the bones. Speaking of which, take your fish and remove the bones. (Or you could do it after they are cooked.)

Heat some milk in a saucepan with the vegetables. When it's just about simmering, push the vegetables to one side, add the fish, put the vegetables back on top and poach the fish for about five minutes. Remove them from the heat and let them cool. Strain the liquid and set it aside for a moment.

When the fish is cool, flake it into small bits. Pick out any remaining bones that you find. Mix the fish, cheese, and vegetables and place them in a baking dish.

Melt your butter or heat your oil in a saucepan. Add the flour and make a roux, not too dark. Then make a béchamel using the poaching liquid. You might need to add some salt at this point. I didn't, since my smoked whitefish had some saltiness. Pour the roux over your fish mixture.

Cover the top of the dish with your mashed potatoes. Put into a 350F oven for half-an-hour. Serve warm. Steamed greens make a nice side-dish.

© 2013 Jeff Berry
The Aspiring Luddite