Now! I’m always asked what is it I like to cook best? But strangely I’m never asked what I like to eat best!!? I’m assuming that it’s incase I invite myself round for tea!! People tend not to invite chefs around for a bite to eat! And yet any chef will tell you that they are the easiest people to cook for! Simply because we aren’t cooking and someone else is!! So for us as chefs it’s always an enjoyable experience

The dish I love more than anything else is a good fish pie, I think it says a lot about an establishment and the chef if they can produce a good fish pie, or any pie for that matter, and I’m not talking about the ones you see with those ridiculous puff pastry hats either!!

I make no claims that mine is the best, I just happen to think it’s pretty good, it’s the recipe and method I’ve used for years, and I ” acquired ” it a long time ago from an Irish chef Jimmy O’Shea who I worked with in my late teens, and I’ve made it the same since, so you’re quite honoured as I don’t think I’ve ever written it down before!!

This will serve 4 people

SHOPPING LIST

1kg of fish, now to be honest the choice is yours, but try for a good mix, salmon, smoked haddock, pollock, hake, you decide

1.5kg of floury potatoes

4 egg yolks

FOR THE SAUCE

150g of butter

1 onion finely chopped

4 cloves garlic finely chopped

Good bunch of fresh thyme

200ml White wine ( if you wouldn’t drink it! Don’t use it!)

100g smoked haddock trimmings ( use the tail end from the fish mix)

2 litres of full fat milk

100g plain flour

Good spoon of English mustard

A good handful of chopped herbs, tarragon, chives parsley

METHOD

Firstly remove all the skin and bones from the fish

Start the sauce by melting 50g butter in a pan, add the onion and garlic, sweat down for 2 minutes

Now add the thyme, wine and smoked haddock trimmings

Cook for 3 minutes to burn off the alcohol

Now added the milk and bring to just under the simmer

Now melt the 100g of butter in another pan, add the flour and cook for 4 minutes

Slowly add the warm milk through a sieve an whisk quickly over the heat until the sauce is smooth and thick

Cook for 5 minutes but stir frequently to prevent burning

Now whisk in the mustard and chopped herbs

Season to taste

Cool down the sauce

Now make the mashed potato by peeling the potatoes and cooking in boiling salted water until tender

Strain and allow to stand and steam, this will get rid of excess water

Mash your potatoes and season to taste, add the egg yolks and mix well

Place the potatoes into a piping bag ( it’s easier this way but you don’t have to)

Now it’s time to assemble your pie!

Spoon some sauce into the bottom of your pie dish

Arrange your fish pieces on top of the sauce, season with salt and pepper

Now completely cover with the sauce

Pipe your mash on top, the design is entirely up to you

At this stage you can sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top for an even more sumptuous pie!!

Place on a baking sheet and cook in a preheated oven 190c for 20-25 minutes until golden brown

Serve immediately with some buttered peas

Now! You’ve got to admit! That’s pretty good pie! Go on give it a go
Jon

Written by Jon Fell

Head Chef Rosehill Theatre, Chef on the Simply Good Food TV app, run a Seafood Cookery Class at Peter Sidwell Cookery School, Newspaper food columnist

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