I decided to make this fantastic fish pie again for a couple of reasons:
1. I got my hands on some properly smoked hake. Not the ‘artificially dyed and dipped in liquid smoke flavour hake’ that we buy, and that gets marketed as ‘haddock’. This is the real deal. Proper cold smoked hake that my favourite Cape Town fishmonger Julie Carter of Ocean Jewels Fresh Fish now supplies. There are a lot of things you can make with properly smoked hake, but for me, fish pie is the absolute best thing.
I wrote a bit about Julie and her legendary tuna burgers in a previous post.
2. Jamie Oliver is one of my all time food heroes and this is the best fish pie I have ever eaten, so any excuse to make it and I will jump at the chance. The awesome part is once you make it a few times you can start adding and adapting to it as you go. I used a mature cheddar this time, but in the past, I have used Parmesan or Pecorino (all equally as nice). I also added a finely chopped celery stalk, and I used reduced fat cream because I find it as thick and as delicious but with 70% less fat, its a no-brainer for me. But the choice of how indulgent you want to go is yours.
- 5 large spuds peeled and diced (about 3 cm)
- 500 gm smoked haddock sliced into strips and then chopped into biggish chunks. You could use any nice firm white fish – cod, hake, kingklip etc. I think salmon could also work – or a mix of salmon and white fish.
- salt and pepper
- 2 free range eggs (leave out if you don't like)
- 2 handfuls spinach (I used 1 x 200gms packet of baby spinach)
- 1 brown onion finely chopped
- 1 carrot chopped / diced or even easier, grated
- 1 - 2 celery stalks finely chopped
- extra virgin olive oil
- 250ml cream (recipe says 285ml double cream but I like reduced fat cream)
- 2 good handfuls grated parmesan or cheddar cheese (I used a local and delicious parmesan style cheese)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 heaped tsp english mustard (I used 2 teaspoons Dijon)
- 1 large handful flat leafed parsley, finely chopped
- nutmeg (optional) - I added the nutmeg to my mash
- pre heat oven to 220 degrees c.
- Chop all the things, juice the lemon and got everything ready to cook.
- Boil the potatoes in salted water for a couple of minutes and add the 2 eggs and set timer for 8 minutes and add to the spuds.
- Remove the eggs when ready and cool, peel and cut into quarters.
- Place a colander or sieve over the boiling potatoes and empty the spinach in, put the lid on and steam for about 2 minutes. Remove and drain.
- When the spuds are cooked drain in the colander
- In a separate pan, fry the onion, celery and carrot for about 5 minutes in the olive oil then add the cream and bring to the boil.
- Remove from the heat, add the cheese, lemon juice, parsley and mustard - stir.
- Mix the spinach (which you have squeezed and chopped up), the chopped up fish and egg into the cream mixture and then empty into an appropriately sized oven dish
- Mash up the potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil (or butter), salt and pepper and a few gratings of nutmeg and then lightly spread over the fish pie using a fork (you could drizzle a bit more oil or melted butter over the top to get a browner finish), or sprinkle over some more cheese if you really wanted to be decadent and get some more crunch, but do this10 minutes before the end of the cooking time.
- Bake for about 25 - 30 mins - until golden
Jamie recommends serving this pie with baked beans in tomato sauce and I wholeheartedly agree. That and a salad or my warm zesty green beans.
If you are looking for the freshest sustainable fish, contact Julie on Cell: 083 5820829
Email: oceanjewelsfish (at) gmail (dot) com (she now has a little shop at the Woodstock Exchange)
Julie says: ‘I sell only the freshest fish caught in and around the False Bay coastline. I am a SASSI (South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) participant and consider sustainability essential. If you live in the Cape Town area I will deliver to your door. Or collect your fresh fish at my stands at the Neighbourgoods market (Saturday) and Starlings cafe (Wednesday)’.
Visit her blog for info and recipe ideas: Ocean Jewels Fresh Fish
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