Monday, 14 November 2011

Fish is the Dish: Fish Pie ala NotBlondeHusband

It's always fun to get a parcel in the mail. It's even more fun when the parcel turns out to be a box full of delicious, gourmet fish, which is exactly what arrived in our house on Thursday. The box contained haddock, smoked haddock and salmon fillets provided by John Milne at Delish Fish.

Given that smoked haddock is one of my favourite things in the entire world, I was pretty excited. I was also hugely impressed by the sustainability of this particular fish and of it's easily traceable origin. The haddock is caught in the North Sea and has Marine Stewardship Council accreditation

Not only do we know who provided the fish and where it was caught and landed, we also know it had been caught by the crew of one of two vessels:   Harvest Hope or Sustain.

More and more people want to know not only that the food they are eating is sustainable but also where it came from. It's pretty difficult to be more specific about where the food you are eating has come from, without providing the fisherman's name, shoe size and sexual preferences, which would probably be taking it too far anyway.

The people at Fish is the Dish provided a recipe for "Karen's Scrumptious Fish Pie", which was pretty lucky, since fish pie is probably Blondie Boy's favourite meal so it's a bit of a staple round here. The recipe also came with a challenge, to provide a top tip to change the recipe in some way. I changed a few things. Sorry Karen, I'm sure the original was nice too!

The ingredients:

200g each of haddock, smoked haddock and salmon fillets
1 pint of milk
30g butter
30g plain flour
grated parmesan
lemon pepper
dijon mustard 
1 Make some mash as you normally would, enough to cover your dish. I probably used 1.5-2kg of potatoes.
2 Chop the fish into 2cm chunks. I also skinned the salmon at this point. The great thing about making the fish into a pie is the pieces don't have to be perfectly symmetrical. Rough chunks are great.

3 Bung it all in your pyrex dish and give it a good mix together so all three varieties of fish are evenly distributed.

4 Melt the butter in a saucepan and gradually stir in the flour. Heat for a minute or so, stirring constantly.
5 Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time.
6 Fish is the Dish challenged us to change something about the recipe, I can't help tinkering with recipes, so I changed a few things but if I could only recommend one tip it would be this: stir in a teaspoon or a teaspoon and a half of Dijon mustard. The sauce without it might be rather bland, the mustard makes it richer and velvety, without overpowering the fish.

7 Simmer for 8-10 minutes then season. The recipe recommended adding parsley at this point but we're not really a parsley house, so I added finely chopped chives.

Next tip, switch out the pepper here and season with lemon pepper. Light, zingy and perfect with fish.

8 Pour over the uncooked fish then top with the potato. 

Topping isn't the easiest thing to do elegantly but fortunately it doesn't need to be elegant, just delicious. I put the potato into a piping bag with a large nozzle and piped it on before forking the top to give the peaks which will crisp up in the oven.

9 Scatter some parmesan over the top (optional, but highly recommended) and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 200 degrees celsius.

We ate the pie with my Dad and his wife. I prepped and cooked it at home and then heated it through for 10 minutes in his oven. It was still perfect.

Although the recipe suggested serving with petit pois, I served it with savoy cabbage and broccoli. The pie was delicious, it seemed to be a success with everybody at the table from 22 months to 50+, even including Miss "I don't like cooked fish" herself, Blondie.

You can really taste the difference between good quality fish such as this and cheaper supermarket stuff. It really needed nothing done to it, it arrived filleted and perfectly boned, it was thrown roughly into a dish and with little effort on my part and it produced a delicious meal for 4 adults and a toddler, with enough leftovers for 4 toddler sized portions which are now in our freezer! 

As I said I'm a bit of a smoked haddock aficionado and this stuff was the business, I'll definitely be getting some from Delish Fish again. It's such an easy food to prepare, stick it in an omelet, fire it in a pie, or even just poach it and flake it through some mashed potato, it's seriously difficult to mess it up and the results are always exquisite.

Transatlantic Blonde were provided the fish used in this recipe.


Melaina25 said...

Loved the fish but couldn't make the fish pie, I can't eat anything with milk. It does look good. x

Melaina25 said...

Ooh, that sounds delicious! :-)

Melaina25 said...

I'm lucky to have a husband that is such a good cook!

Melaina25 said...

I'm not big on fish either. Give it a try! Fish is the Dish has a competition running to win cookware when you submit a photo of your dinner!
Sent from my iPad

Melaina25 said...

Looks delish! I'm not really a fish eater but for some reason I really like fish pie. I've never made it myself but NBH makes it seem easy. 

Melaina25 said...

Love your writing style :~}
Looking forward to the next box.

Melaina25 said...

What a great idea.  My husband is a big seafood fan, but I'm not always adept at preparing it.

Thanks for linking up to Friday Food on last week!

Melaina25 said...

Thanks! That is NotBlondeHusband who wrote this one :)

Sent from my iPad

Melaina25 said...

thank you lovely photos one of my favourites too john  delishfish