Fish pie

With its crunchy topping of golden cheese and potato, Tamasin Day Lewis's traditional fish pie makes a wonderful family meal
By Tamasin Day-Lewis
Fish pie
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 8
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Effort: medium

Ingredients

Main

  • 675 g cod fillets
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 150 ml dry vermouth or white wine
  • 300 ml milk
  • 300 ml single cream
  • 450 g natural smoked haddock
  • 12 quail's eggs
  • 900 g spinach
  • 85 g butter
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 200 ml crème fraîche
  • 225 g shelled tiger prawns
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • black pepper

For the topping:

  • 900 g potatoes, coarsely grated
  • 85 g mature cheddar cheese
  • 85 g butter, melted

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C /gas 6.

2. Put the cod in a saucepan with the bay leaf and half the peppercorns. Pour in the vermouth and a little water. Cover and poach for about 7 minutes, or until just cooked.

3. Meanwhile, pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and bring to scalding point. Place the smoked haddock in a shallow dish with the rest of the peppercorns. Pour the milk and cream over the fish. Leave to rest for about 10 minutes, turning halfway through, until tender.

4. Boil the quails' eggs for 3 minutes, then carefully remove the shells. Slice the eggs in half.

5. Drain the cod and the smoked haddock, keeping both lots of fish liquor. Flake the fish, removing the skin and bones.

6. Put the spinach in a saucepan with no more water than the residue clinging to the leaves after washing. Steam gently for 3-4 minutes, until wilted, stirring to prevent sticking. Drain thoroughly, pressing out excess liquid with the back of a wooden spoon.

7. Place a layer of spinach in the base of a deep ovenproof dish. Season with a good scrunch of black pepper.

8. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour and cook gently for 1 minute, stirring, to make a nutty golden roux. Gradually whisk in the hot fish liquors. Stir in the crème fraîche, followed by the prawns and parsley. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from the heat.

9. Place the flaked cod and haddock on top of the spinach. Pour over the prawn sauce. Tuck the quails' eggs into the mixture.

10. Mix the grated cheese and potatoes with the melted butter. Pile the mixture on top of the fish.

11. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-60 minutes, until the top is golden and crunchy.

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