Friday, June 18, 2010

Fishy favourite

Fish pie is a staple in many households around the country. Everyone has their own version, the results of which can vary from quite tasty to pretty awful. My personal experience of it comes mostly from my flatting years, so when I think of fish pie, I get an image of tinned fish and frozen vege stirred through mashed potato and baked in a casserole dish. Not terribly appealing, so I've never been in the habit of making it.

The Edmonds fish pie supreme recipe (p113), however, seems a bit different from what I've always thought of as fish pie. Ever wondered why it's called a pie? I hadn't, but this recipe actually specifies that it should be made in a pie dish, and the mashed potato is used as a pastry substitute: lining the dish and then topping the filling, instead of just generally being  mixed through. There are no veges in it either, but that doesn't matter - you just have some on the side.

Forgive me if you already know this. Possibly this is the standard technique most people use for making fish pie, but it was an eye-opener to me.

Anyway, I began by cooking the potatoes. I'd gone out of my way to get floury potatoes for good mash - I love mashed potato but seldom have it.  A whole bag of potatoes is too much for me to get through, so I have to buy them a handful at a time, and the kind of potatoes available individually are never good for mashing. Luckily, I found a floury variety at the Funky Pumpkin (I don't usually shop there but made a special trip for budgetary purposes) and was able to buy exactly as many as I wanted.

When the potatoes were done, I mashed them up, and used half the mash to line the casserole dish I was using. I really wanted to do it properly in a pie plate, but since I was only making a half-recipe, the plate would have been too big. Meanwhile, I'd also been hard-boiling an egg. This I left to cool in some cold water while I made the filling.

The filling was quite similar to that for lattice pie. You start by melting butter, then stir in some flour and gradually add milk. When this has thickened, you put in the fish and the chopped egg. The recipe calls for either flaked smoked fish or canned tuna, but I just used a can of salmon I had in the cupboard.

Do you remember me saying I thought the butter was important for the taste of the lattice pie filling? Well, I used canola spread this time (I've got no butter at the moment, so wherever I write 'butter', read 'canola spread') and it tasted just fine.

I smoothed the filling onto the potato base, and now I just had to add the potato topping. Just for fun, I got out my piping bag and covered the filling with inexpert swirls of potato. I figured the edges of the piping would go nice and golden in the oven.

I put the dish to bake in my 'little oven' while I pottered around tidying up and cooking some frozen vege. Soon enough, it was ready, and I served myself up a plateful.

I've said above that fish pies can range from tasty to awful: this was one of the tasty ones. It's certainly changed my idea of what a fish pie should be. In the past I have seldom attempted fish pie. In the future I'll probably make it from time to time. I just have to get the right potatoes!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular posts this week