Friday, 28 March 2008

Smoked Fish Pie

So no sooner have I posted an apology for not blogging than I find myself with 5 mins!

Last night as I drove home from work I decided it was time I cooked dinner, rather than let Jenny do it. I was thinking about smoked haddock, and by the time I hit Tesco I'd settled on fish pie. I bought some traditional undyed smoked haddock, but then my eye settled on a couple of salmon fillets. Yumm! Along with twice as much fish as I needed, I also picked up a head of broccoli before heading for home. (I froze half the fish, of course.)

I actually did it in the wrong order, but in the right order, here's what we did. Peel and boil some potatoes; break the broccoli into chunky florets and steam it. Skin and microwave the fish in a splash of milk, then break into largeish flakes. Use the fishy milk to make a white sauce, adding more milk as necessary, then flavour the sauce with cheese. I used cheddar, but then Jen suggested adding some left-over brie.

When all was ready, Jen mashed the potatoes while I started final assembly. Into an ovenproof glass dish I put the broccoli, then distributed the fish over it, poured in the white sauce and Jen spread the mash over the top. A quick grate of parmesan on top of that, followed by 20 mins in the oven flat out. This is really just to crisp up the top and make sure everything is properly hot all the way through, rather than cook anything further.

As we served it, my heart sank, for the smell of the brie was really powerful, and not what I wanted at all. Fortunately, the taste was nowhere near as strong as the smell, and it really was, though I say it myself, rather good.

Interestingly, when I described the recipe at work today there were almost as many opinions as people present. Everyone seems to have his own preferences when it comes to fish pie! Reminded me of a recent Cook's Tour of Spain programme we watched. Tommi Miers was cooking traditional Spanish fare in the fields and serving it to the workers, in this case saffron pickers, but she's done serveral of these. No-one wants to let her do the recipe her way; it's got to be done just so, "because that's the way my grandmother showed me, and that's the right way!"


Anna said...

Strangely enough, I'd planned fish pie for tonight.

With smoked haddock and some other fish, and possibly a few king prawns as there's some in the freezer.

I tend to make the pie without broccoli, and serve broccoli and carrots separately. Just because I hadn't thought about it.

I'm noticing the same "because that's how we've always done it" attitude a lot recently, especially in relation to my latest project, the vegetable garden.

I know when my dad (who had an allotment for years) will disapprove and even laugh because I'm not growing things in rows and wasting lots of space for paths.

Whereas I'm all for challenging the accepted wisdom, pushing boundaries to work out why a particular method works (or doesn't work).

A Mother's Place is in the Wrong said...

My Aristocratic BF always includes chopped hard-boiled eggs in hers - and it does taste good. Fish Pie obviously brings out some very individual opinions! M xx

Rob Clack said...

Anna, that sounds really interesting. We've got back into vegetables in a small way recently, though I fess I still plant in blocks or rows.

How was your fish pie? I put in broccoli simply because of the chicken and broccoli bake Jenny makes sometimes. That may sound bizarre, but just the idea of assembling some stuff in a white sauce and topping with either breadcrumbs or spud seemed to make sense.

I did consider eggs, Margot, (after all, we put them in kedgeree) but in the end decided against. No real reason, just whimsy.

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