Parmesan-crusted fish pie

Mark Sargeant fish pie recipe is classically comforting, and the parmesan topping adds a golden crunch
Parmesan-crusted fish pie
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Effort: medium


For the fish

  • 6 cloves
  • 1 onion, halved
  • 4 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 600 ml full fat milk
  • 500 g white fish fillets, such as whiting, coley or pollack, cut into bitesized pieces
  • 200 g natural-dyed smoked haddock, cut into bitesized pieces
  • 2-3 tbsp plain flour
  • 200 g smoked haddock
  • 30-40 g butter
  • 2-3 tbsp plain flour
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 200 g peas
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • A hanful of basil and parsley, chopped
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs

For the topping

  • 1.25 kg floury potatoes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 30-40 g butter
  • 40 g freshly grated parmesan
  • A pinch of freshly-grated nutmeg

Tips and Suggestions

Poaching is an excellent method for leaner, less oily types of fish, as moisture is retained during the cooking process giving the fish a succulent flavour and texture.

When poaching fish, it is necessary to keep the fish covered in liquid at all times throughout the cooking period. Take care not to let the mixture boil or the fish will break up into pieces more easily.


1. For the fish: press the cloves into the onion halves and place into a large pan with the bay leaves, peppercorns and milk. Add the fish to the pan and bring to the simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the fish is just cooked through. Remove the fish and place into a large bowl, then strain the cooking liquid through a sieve into a jug.

2. Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook for one minute, stirring continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Slowly add the reserved cooking liquid, whisking continuously, until incorporated. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened. Stir in the cream and remove from the heat.

3. For the topping: cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes, or until tender (a knife should slide in easily). Drain, mash or pass through a potato ricer and add a ladle of the reserved fish poaching liquid. Add the eggs yolks and butter and mix until smooth and well combined. Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Spoon the mash into a piping bag.

4. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.

5. Add the peas, herbs, lemon juice and lemon zest to the bowl of fish and gently stir through. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then stir in the white sauce, taking care not to break up the fish.

6. Peel the hard-boiled eggs and cut into chunky slices. Pour the fish mixture into a deep baking dish and arrange the eggs on top. Pipe the mash over the folling and mark the surface with a fork. Season with salt then sprinkle over the parmesan, nutmeg and a grind of black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the fish pie is piping hot throughout and the topping is golden-brown and crisp.

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