I just did a picture of a serving as one potato topped dish looks much like another. This is billed as Fantastic Fish pie in Jamie Oliver’s book The Return of the Naked Chef. It is very good, the cheese and spinach make this a more unusual fish pie. My boys liked it a lot but fish pie is one their favourite meals. Conor thought on balance he slightly preferred Rachel Allen’s fish pie and Aidan felt the best fish pie he’d ever had was at the Hix fish restaurant in Lyme Regis (my favourite remains the Avoca Cafe fish pie recipe).
This is a bit more faffing about as you have to remove the skin and pin bones from the raw fish, on the plus side the fish is not over cooked.
Quantities below serve 6, I doubled up and froze 3 single portions for Jon’s aunt and one 4 portion dish to try and see how well it works cooked fro frozen. As the fish was raw I cooked all of these before cooling and freezing. I made sure there was no egg in the dishes for the freezer. Apparently egg white manages to go both rubbery and watery when frozen and defrosted.
- 6 large potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch squares
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 free-range eggs
- 2 large handfuls fresh spinach, trimmed and washed
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, halved and finely chopped
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 pint double cream
- 2 good handfuls grated mature Cheddar or Parmesan
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 heaped teaspoon English mustard
- 1 large handful flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
- 455gr/1 lb haddock or fresh cod fillet, skin removed, pin-boned and sliced into strips
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Nutmeg, optional
- Preheat the oven to 230C/450F/gas6.
- Put the potatoes into salted boiling water and bring back to a boil for 2 minutes. Carefully add the eggs to the pan and cook for a further 8 minutes until hard boiled, by which time the potatoes should also be cooked. At the same time, steam the spinach in a colander above the pan. This will only take a minute. When the spinach is done, remove from the colander and gently squeeze any excess moisture away. Then drain the potatoes in the colander. Remove the eggs, cool under cold water, then peel and quarter them. Place to one side. (I did steam the spinach above the egg pan but drew the line at boiling the eggs in with the potatoes)
- In a separate pan slowly fry the onion and carrot in a little olive oil for about 5 minutes, then add the double cream, and bring just to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the cheese, lemon juice, mustard, and parsley.
- Put the spinach, fish and eggs into an appropriately sized earthenware dish and mix together, pouring over the creamy vegetable sauce. The cooked potatoes should be drained and mashed, add a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and a touch of nutmeg, if you like. Spread on top of the fish. Don’t bother piping it to make it look pretty, it’s a homely hearty thing. Place in the oven for about 25 to 30 minutes until the potatoes are golden.