No-fuss fish pie

Windows video (small)
mp4 video (small)

While it’s nice to experiment in the kitchen and try exciting and slightly scary things like soufflé and partridge, it’s equally nice to build up a stock of really easy, favourite recipes that you can cook any day of the week. You know, the kind of recipes you don’t even a shopping list for, because the list of ingredients is in your head.

This fish pie recipe is like that for me. It’s fairly quick, easy, tasty and you can substitute different kinds of seafood or vegetables, depending on what you’ve got in the fridge or what’s available at the fishmonger (or, let’s face it, the supermarket).

There’s just one major variable in my version of fish pie: you can use cream or white sauce. You can save on calories by making a roux with a little bit of butter and flour (about a tablespoon of each), then carefully whisking in about 500ml of warmed milk. Or for the quick and decadent version, just use double or single cream – about 500ml.

The really great thing about dishes like this is that there are always leftovers for lunch the next day – and by then, they taste even better.

– Lenny

Easy fish pie

6 large potatoes
Salt and pepper
A few tablespoons of olive oil
3 tablespoons of milk
About 400g (1lb) smoked fish (eg haddock) – skinned
About 400g (1lb) of salmon – skinned
1 medium onion
2 carrots
½ cup of frozen peas or fresh spinach
Juice of 1 lemon
400ml-500ml (1 pint) single cream (or 1 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp flour and about 500ml milk)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Pinch of grated nutmeg
About 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Good handful of parsley or dill
Broccoli or other veges to serve with your pie

– Preheat the oven to a moderate heat, about 180C/350F
– Peel your potatoes. Don’t chop them unless you’re short of time. Put them in a pot of cold water, bring to the boil and simmer until soft.
– In a medium-sized pan, gently heat 2 tbsp olive oil. Dice the onion and carrots and sweat them in the oil.
– Check the fish carefully for bones, remove any, and chop into a large dice. Finely chop the parsley or dill.
– If you’re using frozen peas, add them, still frozen, to the onion and carrots. If you’re using spinach, wilt it in a pot of warm water then squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Chop it up before adding to the onion and carrots.
– If you’re making white sauce, in a clean pan gently warm the milk. In another clean pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour, cooking it for a minute or two. Slowly pour in the warm milk, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Keep stirring it until you take it off the heat.
– Add the white sauce (or, the cream, if you’re using it instead) to the vegetable mixture. Gently stir in the fish, mustard, nutmeg, most of the cheese and lemon juice. The mixture should be a nice, loose consistency.
– When the potatoes are nice and soft, drain and mash, adding salt, pepper, 2-3 tbsp of milk and a good glug of olive oil, which will help it to brown.
– Pour the fish mixture into the bottom of a large baking dish, top with the remaining sprinkling of cheese and bake for about 20 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
– Serve with steamed broccoli or other green vegetable.

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15 Responses to “No-fuss fish pie”

  • Smoked fish for sure to give it the flavour but what is the pedanticism with the savoury or the “OTHER one” wooden stirrers. Feel like there is definitely some stirring there. Keep up the good work- love it.

  • This episode won’t play on my ipod. I don’t know why, all the other episodes have.

  • Wow, I never thought of cream replacing a white sauce. Another great podcast!

  • hey waz, what’s with the bottle of budweiser on the dinner table? i’m a but surprised. ho ho, eric.

  • Nic and others,

    Sorry, there was a problem with the video. It should be fixed now – if you have the dodgy file that won’t play on iPod you’ll need to download again. Here’s how:

    * In iTunes, go to your library and select Podcasts, then Crash Test Kitchen.
    * In the episode list under Crash Test Kitchen, delete No-fuss Fish Pie. Confirm you want to both delete it and move the file to the recycle bin/trash.
    * Refresh the episode list by shift-clicking (Windows) or option-clicking (Mac, I think) on the little arrow/triangle that appears beside Crash Test Kitchen – the one you use to expand or collapse the episode list. This will restore No-fuss Fish Pie to the list.
    * Now download the episode again. You should get the new file, which I have tested and seems to work fine on an iPod.

    Sorry for the fuss – I was testing out some new stuff with video and obviously it went wrong.


  • Hey chaps,
    Another great podcast. Loved it. Skinning fish need not be such a palaver. Skin down is right, but the trick is to start from the tail and, as soon as you get going, just keep the knife in place and pull the fish towards you. It will come right off with no tears.

    Check this fish recipe clip I did with this (ugly) chap called Erik. About 4 mins in we show exactly how easy it is to skin fish fillets.

    Keep up the good cooking and would love to meet you guys one day.

    Cheers and Merry Xmas
    Nando Cuca

  • Yeay, I’m back, internet back, new flat. Going to have to catch up on all the videos I missed, so started with this one, glad to see you guys are still going, and I apologise for missing many episodes.

    Keep up the good show guys. ^_^

  • Lenny, I’m definitely with you on your onion-chopping technique; that’s the very one I use and wouldn’t swap!

  • I’ve made several variants of this shepherd’s pie, and have enjoyed it every time. Rather than the peas (which I don’t care for, to be honest) I use chopped celery for the extra little crunch. I also have made it with a layer of fish/veg mixture, layer of spinach (raw) and then the mash potatoes on top. I did something very similar with sauteed red bell peppers and mushrooms, and chopped chicken thighs; absolutely delicious.

    Thanks for a wonderful series, and I always look forward to more!

    Stephen; Seattle USA

  • This looks really good, and you’d really think I’d know better than to watch it when I’m hungry. ;_;

  • I saw your videos while browsing on i-tunes.
    Hahaha. It’s really nice to see you guys cook!
    Funny, too. Hahaha.
    Hope you guys make more videos!

    March 21, 2009.
    Christine; Philippines, Manila.

  • I love this fish pie, and I have made it a few times now, yum! This is not a common dish here in “the states” and I get some weird looks when I say what I am making for dinner but everyone loves it now. I make it extra low carb by using califlower mash on the top, you can’t even tell the difference! Thanks for showing this yank a new dish, now if I can just find clotted cream in this country…

  • I like this recipe! Thanks! Like Ruth I use the cauli/mash on top and it’s great.

  • I was surprised by the Bud on the table as well!

  • Just a helpful tip. If you always start potatoes in cold water you will get perfect potatoes every time-never watery.

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