Monday, February 14, 2011

dinner date - smoked fish pie

This smoked fish pie is loosely based on a recipe from the Ripe cookbook and it's the best fish pie I've ever made! I usually make a very basic fish pie with a simple white sauce but this recipe, with a few additions to the sauce - cream, lemon zest and capers - takes it to a new level of deliciousness. The Ripe recipe uses a mix of white fish and smoked fish which would also be good. I'll try that combination next time.

The cream in the white sauce, along with the eggs makes this very rich meal but you could use all milk and leave out the eggs. Mum often made fish pie when we were little and never put eggs in it and it was always lovely. Make it how you like it! The only thing I would suggest not changing is the agria potatoes: they really are the best potatoes for mashing.

Mashed potato topping
4 medium sized agria potatoes, peeled
butter, milk or cream, salt & pepper for mashing

Filling & sauce
3 hard boiled eggs, chopped
400g smoked fish fillets (I used terakihi)
1/2 cup cream
1 cup milk
2 bay leaves
30g butter
30g flour
1 TBSP capers
zest of 1 lemon
Handful of fresh herbs - chives, dill or parsely
Salt & pepper

Start by peeling and chopping the potatoes. Place in a medium sized saucepan and fill with cold water, add a little salt and bring to the boil, simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.

While the potatoes are boiling, place the fish, cream, milk and bay leaves in a pan and bring to a simmer, simmer for five minutes over a medium heat then set aside to cool (I didn't wait long). Strain the liquid from the fish and reserve the liquid. Discard the bay leaves and place the fish into a ovenproof dish along with the chopped boiled eggs.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Now prepare the sauce. Melt the butter over a medium heat and stir in the flour. Cook for a minute taking care not to burn the mixture. Now add the reserved milk/cream and stir continuously to avoid lumps. Cook for a few minutes over a medium heat, stirring all the time. Add the capers, herbs, lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the fish & eggs.

Now mash the potatoes with some butter and milk or cream. Season with salt and pepper then spread it over the fish. Rough up the top with a fork then place into the hot oven for half an hour or until it's heated through and the top is crispy.

Enjoy with a simple green salad.

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