Always a favourite on our menu, we find fish pie in any form is popular – even to those who profess not to like fish. When choosing the haddock, most fishmongers will have two sorts: one that’s slightly grey in comparison to fresh haddock as a result of the smoking and another that, as a result of the addition of colouring, looks like it’s been exposed to nuclear isotopes. I’d always suggest the former.
- 500g floury potatoes such as Maris Piper or King Edward
- 300g natural smoked haddock, pin boned and skinned
- 100g butter
- 50ml double cream
- 50g plain flour
- 100g mature cheddar – grated
- Six free-range eggs
- Half a pint of milk
- One level tablespoon wholegrain mustard
- 150g garden peas
- A handful of chopped parsley
- Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
Peel the potatoes, cut into even-sized chunks and place in a pan. Cover with cold water, add a little salt and bring to the boil. Simmer until tender which will be around 15 minutes before draining them in a colander and returning to the pan. Add 50g of the butter, mash until smooth and then add the cream but don’t season just yet. Put to one side.
While they’re cooking, place the eggs in a pan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for seven minutes. Place the pan in the sink and run the eggs under cold water until cool. Crack the shells and remove before course-grating the eggs into a bowl.
Melt the other 50g of the butter in a saucepan over a gentle heat. Add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring occasionally. Then slowly add the milk, stirring all the time to ensure there’re no lumps. But if you do get some, use a whisk to mix them in before adding the cheddar. Taste and add pepper and maybe salt if necessary. Remove from the heat.
Run your hand over the smoked haddock to check for and remove any pin bones the fishmonger may have missed and then dice up the fish. Place in a large bowl, add the mashed potato, the grated egg, peas, mustard and parsley and gently mix. Taste and add salt and pepper as necessary. Spoon the mixture into a pie dish, pour the cheese sauce over the top and bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
Previously published in The Northern Echo