- 1 quantity mashed potato (see below)
- 500g (1lb) firm white fish fillets
- 250g (8oz) smoked fish fillets
- 600ml (20fl oz) milk
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 black peppercorns
- 50g (1¾oz) butter
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2tbsp plain flour
- 250g (8oz) small uncooked prawns, peeled
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 2tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
- 20g (¾oz) butter
- 1kg (1lb) floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chucks
- 100-125ml (3-4fl oz) milk
- 75-100g (2 ½-3 ½oz) butter, cubed
- Begin by making the mashed potato to the recipe below, then heat the oven to 180°C (gas mark 4).
- Skin the fish, remove any bones and flake into bite-sized pieces. Place the fish, milk, bay leaf and peppercorns in a saucepan over a medium heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture, reserving the fish and the milk.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low-to-medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent. Add the flour, stir well and cook for 1 minute. Bring the mixture to the boil, whisking frequently, and cook until smooth and thickened. Allow to cool.
- Add the prawns, cayenne pepper and parsley to the bowl containing the fish pieces and pour over the sauce. Add a little extra milk to the mixture if it appears too thick, then season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Spoon the mixture into a large soufflé dish or ovenproof dish. Place the boiled egg quarters evenly around the dish, and spread over the mashed potato, fluffing up with a fork. Dot with the extra butter. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately with steamed green beans or spinach.
- Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and add enough water to just cover them, plus a pinch or two of salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain well and return to the saucepan.
- Cook over a low heat for 1-2 minutes to steam off any remaining moisture. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan over a medium heat.
- Mash the potatoes with the butter, gradually adding the hot milk until they are smooth and reach the desired consistency.
- For the fish pie, the mash is better firm, so be careful not to add too much liquid. Beat well with a wooden spoon to fluff up the potato, then season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
It is important not to make mashed potato too soft. To avoid this, steam off any water left on the potatoes after draining the potato pieces to the saucepan, then place the pan over the heat until all the moisture has evaporated. For really fluffy mashed potatoes, beat the mixture with a wooden spoon.
When making the sauce for the fish pie, it is important to cook the flour for a couple of minutes once it has been added to the pan - doing this removes any floury taste from the sauce. Once the flour is added to the onions and has cooked, add the milk gradually, whisking constantly. If you have used enough butter to cook the onions, you shouldn't have any lumps.
The fish pie can be made up to 8 hours ahead of serving. Don't pre-cook it though, as this tends to dry out. Instead, assemble it and place it in the fridge until ready to heat. Don't forget to dot it with a little butter before cooking, as this helps to give the top a lovely golden colour.
When cooking the pie, place on a flat baking sheet in the oven - this will catch any of the juice that may bubble over, stopping if from burning on the floor of the oven.