Thursday, 14 March 2013

fish pie on the rocks

... back in the day, my family were never very happy simply lying on a beach, sure we went down there with every intention of a soak in the sun but we always ended up at the epicentre of activity... if there was a giant sand-castle to be built, someone to cover in sand or more importantly a diy rock-pool to be dug, we were the family to instigate it... on many trips to the Cornish coast back in the 70's and 80's we would even go so far as to bring a plastic tarp with us that would become the lining for the rock-pool so that we and all the other kids on the beach could go catching crabs and little fish and actually have somewhere for the little critters to go other than a plastic bucket... dad would usually do the major part of the digging and lining then me and my brother would go off, bamboo poles and bright green nets on our shoulders and catch the fish... even mum joined in, her speciality being starfish... by the end of the day the tide would usually claim the pool back into the sea and we would wrap up the tarp and head for home... rock-pooling was my favourite thing in the world to do by the beach... i'm not sure but i imagine you'd probably get lynched for doing this today...

... i'm having so much fun with all these wonderful fishy recipes, there are just so many memories coming back to me and i'm loving the experience of cooking with such fine fresh produce, it's a privilege to have been asked by the good people at Fish is the Dish to encourage us all out there to eat more fish... developing recipes, discovering new cook books and flicking back through old scribbled notes... fish is just so versatile and easy to cook... and I know some of you aren't big fans... Mark, i'm thinking of you here... but sometimes those old school memories of stinky fish pie need to be pushed to one side and new ones created...

fish pie on the rocks
sometimes the thought of making mash potato just sends the shivers down my spine... I know it's really easy but it does have it's hazards and can be a little dull... I fancied something a little different atop my fish pie this week and as I lay in bed dreaming about toppings I began to visualise this roasted rocky potato landscape and I just knew I had to make it... and boy was I right... it added the perfect crunch to what can be a very 'soft' dish... fish on the rocks perfection!

for the pie
1 hake fillet
1 salmon fillet
1 haddock fillet
half a pint milk
500g cooked prawns
a handful of peas
1 kg bag of baby new potatoes - cut into teeny tiny cubes
olive oil
fresh flat-leaf parsley

for the white sauce
2 tablespoons flour
2oz butter
1 teaspoon english mustard powder
the milk from the fish made up to 1 pint with stock
a dash of white wine
a decent wedge of strong cheddar - finely grated

pre-heat the oven to 180C

place the cubed potatoes onto a baking sheet, slather in olive oil, rosemary and salt and pepper and roast for about 20mins or until just beginning to colour

meanwhile, in a large pan, gently heat the fish, except for the prawns, in the milk. Once the milk begins to bubble take it off the heat and let the fish cool in the milk.  Once cool, remove the fish and flake it into large chunks directly into your pie dish. Stir in the prawns and the frozen peas.  Use the milk to make up the stock for the white sauce.

next make the white sauce by melting a large nob of butter in a sauce pan.  once melted, take it off the heat and add two tablespoons of flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it is smooth.  Place the pan back on a gentle heat and add a splash of the milk and stock mix, stirring all the time as it thickens... continue to add the stock and stir on and off the heat until the sauce thickens... there should be no lumps if you stir off the heat.  Once all the stock is gone add the mustard powder and a splash white wine and stir in, then let the sauce bubble away on a very gentle heat for five minutes or so that the flour cooks off... then add the grated cheese and stir in.

pour the white sauce over the fish and peas and then cover generously with the roasted potatoes

bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the potatoes are glorious and golden

there are a few other lovely bloggers who are also cooking lots of divine fish dishes over the next six weeks, so please do go and visit Solange over at Pebble Soup, Karen over at Lavender and Lovage and Janice over at Farmersgirl Kitchen for some more yummy Fish is the Dish recipes...

eat and of course, enjoy!



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