I made Fish Pie for the first time this weekend and I must admit, I was quite impressed with myself! I had a craving for some comforting, hearty fish pie during the week and so set about making some on Saturday night. I noticed everyone was blogging pictures of green food this weekend and Irish traditional dishes for Paddy’s Day, which I didn’t do at all. But I think this Fish Pie still fits the traditional Irish food bill, so I’m going to pretend that this was my patriotic offering this Paddy’s Weekend.
I wanted to use some fennel and lemon juice in my fish pie for a nice refreshing flavour and so stuck to white fish only, as I felt the flavours would complement each other. I picked up a nice fillet of smoked haddock and also of monkfish and they worked beautifully. No proper fish pie would ever leave out the smoked fish, you need the smokiness to cut through the creamy sauce. I think that simple, comforting meals like this are the best, all you need to do it make sure you get the freshest fish, veg and dairy and you are bound to produce a mouth watering pie!
The sauce was silly it was so easy, I essentially just poured some cream on top of the sautéed vegetables and seasoned it and that was that! I recommend giving this a go. I made two individually portioned fish pies, but if you are making a full family sized one, just double the quantities listed below.
4- 5 Large Potatoes (avoid using Rooster Potatoes… they make a poor mash)
Large knob of butter
1 fillet monkfish
1 fillet of smoked haddock
1 fennel bulb
1 garlic clove
Juice of half a lemon
Zest of a lemon
salt & pepper to season
1. Boil the potatoes for about 20 to 30 minutes depending on size. They’re done when a knife cuts easily through them. Mash the potatoes with a knob of butter, a splash of milk and some salt and pepper. You want your mash soft but firm, add a little more milk if necessary.
2. Finely chop the fennel bulb, make sure to keep the fennel herb at the top of the bulb for use later. Slice up your leek and scallions too (a mandolin makes a nice quick job of this.) Just to note, the fennel takes a little longer to soften so slice finely and perhaps start frying a few minutes before adding the rest of the veg. Sauté all the veg until soft, add the cream to the pan of vegetables and add the lemon juice, half the lemon zest, some salt and pepper and half the fennel herbs. Make sure to taste it at this point and add more lemon or pepper if necessary.
3. Fill your dishes until they are half filled with the creamy vegetables and then mix in the uncooked chopped fish pieces. Cover the fish mix with the mashed potato and put into a preheated oven at 180C for 30 to 40 minutes.
4. Two minutes before taking out put a little knob of butter on top of each fish pie. It melts down the edges but I think a drizzle of melted butter over the top of the mashed potato is so inviting! Take out and garnish with the remaining lemon zest and fennel herbs. Enjoy!