Ah fish pies! Perfect for a cosy meal in the coldest months.
The first time I had a fish pie was a couple of years ago in Corpusty. It was a February Sunday evening. We had spent the day on the coast exploring the long beaches up North in Norfolk: freezing cold wind, light grey sky, rainy from time to time but oh, what a day. The sand is so dark it makes the sea contrast with the sky and accentuates the bright colours of wooden beach huts along the way. The sea had retreated uncovering round smooth rocks and sandy waves. Locals would go for a walk with their dogs and let them enjoy the vast spaces.
Once we got back we definitely needed something to warm us up so we had dinner next to the fire place, thick socks on, on the sofa covered in blankets. Milo’s dad treated us with a fish pie made with cream, potatoes and leaks, covered in puff pastry, decorated with little men and hearts. God it was good.
I never got to make one until last month after finding a recipe on one of Jamie Oliver’s books. The first time I tried to make it slightly healthier and used milk instead of cream. Do not do it. It gets bland and watery and does not fulfill its main duty – warm your body and soul. So a little bit of single cream won’t hurt.
This is my version of it. Quoting Jamie, it’s a better version of it – true?
Feeds 4 or a hungry 3
400gr fish pie mix – salmon, haddock, cod.. anything you can find at the fish counter or those small wonky edgy corners you shall not throw away
125gr single cream
200gr fresh cooking spinach
500gr sweet potatoes
100gr frozen peas
Parmesan for the crust
Start by roughly chopping your sweet potatoes and cook them in boiling water until soft. I like keeping the skins on: they contain lots of vitamins and, most of all, they get crunchy in the oven.
In a bowl, leave your fish mix to soak in single cream. In the meanwhile, grate the courgette and soften it in a pan for 5 minutes with some coconut oil and (if you want) some grated red onion. Add salt and pepper to taste. Finally, add the single cream and bring to a boil. Switch everything off, take your courgette off the heat and let them cool down a bit.
Add the egg, the peas and the spinach to the fish. Salt to taste. Add the courgettes and cream and mix until well combined. Move everything into a roaster or gratin (I have a H7xW33xD19cm 2.2L roaster that works really well for fish pies).
Your potatoes should be ready now so time to mash them and spread them on top of your mix. With a fork, create some waves and go crazy with those skin bits (they’re the best part!). Ops, no sorry. The best part comes now. Final touch: grate some Parmesan cheese all over and if you -like me- would never ever do cheese with fish, I promise you you’ll be happy to make this small exception. But please don’t tell my mum.
Cook in the oven at 240° for 30′.