Your fish is my command. (See what I did there?)

The folks at Steve Hatt only have to mention fish pie on their Facebook page and here I am with a recipe for you. Just like that.

The smoked haddock in Steve Hatt is a lovely pale yellow because it is actually smoked. That luminous yellow stuff you sometimes see vacuum-packed in supermarkets has been dyed to make it look more smoked. There are many ways to make fish pie. Some people add eggs or poach the fish in milk but I like mine a little lighter. . .

Ingredients for 4 people

500 g fresh smoked haddock – skin removed
500 g fresh haddock – not smoked – skin removed
a handful of cooked peeled prawns (optional)
6 medium potatoes.
30 g plain flour.
1 medium sized leek trimmed and sliced into 1 cm discs
Handful of chopped curly parsley
5 threads of saffron
a splash of olive oil and a knob of butter
You’ll need a saucepan, a large flat-bottomed frying pan and an ovenproof dish.

What to do. Roughly speaking:
Preheat the oven to 220oC
Boil the potatoes and mash them with butter and milk – add salt to taste.
Fry the leek slices in olive oil in for a couple of minutes and then add about 250ml water, the chopped parsley and a little salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and then turn down and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the leeks from the liquid with a slotted spoon and place in the ovenproof dish.
Place the saffron threads and then the fish into the liquid in the pan and poach (gently simmer) for about 7 minutes.
Lift out the fish, break it up a bit and mix with the leeks in the ovenproof dish.
Pour the liquid into a jug and set it aside. Melt a little butter in the bottom of the pan, then sprinkle on the flour and stir it with a wooden spoon. Gradually add back the liquid, stirring all the time so that it thickens but doesn’t get lumpy. Pour this over the fish and leeks in the bottom of the roasting dish. At this stage you can also add the prawns if you’re using them.
Spread the mashed potato over the top and place in the oven for about 30 minutes – if you use a clear dish you should be able to see the sauce bubbling around the fish.

If you want a cheesy topping, sprinkle grated cheese over the mash about 10 minutes before it’s ready.


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