Eton Mess is a classic, English summer dessert…
The Fish Pie
A pie can either be a sweet or a savoury dish in English, see the below description of the Oxford Dictionary:
A baked dish of fruit, or meat and vegetables, typically with a top and base pastry.
There are lots of different pies in England: there is the famous apple pie and other sweet pies, the cold pork pies like Melton Mowbray made with crust pastry, the meat pies made with pastry and served hot with cooked vegetables and gravy, other meat pies topped with either crust or puff pastry and pies topped with mashed potato. I think, this is to sum up the major categories, however, the reality is that there are so many more varieties of pies. Wikipedia listed 136 different pies, out of which 70 are sweet and the rest are savoury. When it comes to the origin of these pies, the UK competes with the US yet again: there are 30 pies in each country which claim their origins to be theirs. The rest of the origins come from different countries.
This time I chose the fish or fishermen’s pie, which apparently originated in the 12th century. I am using a recipe from Mary Berry with some slight alterations. I have been making this dish for years, whenever we fancied something light. It is easy to make so I highly recommend this dish if you like fish. As far as the ingredients are concerned, I do realise that it can be a bit difficult to get sea fish if you live in a landlocked country. However, most supermarkets offer deep frozen cod or hake and salmon (Tesco, Auchan etc in Hungary) or perhaps even fresh from their Fishmonger counter. You can use more cod and a little (e.g. 100-150g) salmon as the latter is quite pricy, I know. I am using a so called Fish Pie Mix which contains 390g fish: cod, salmon and smoked cod. If you use deep frozen fish, make sure you defrost it and cut it into piecese before cooking.
INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
390g Fish Pie Mix (sea fish – cod, hake, haddock, salmon – whatever you can get)
2 bigish potatoes
1 teaspoon English mustard (available at Tesco)
1 teaspoon flour
I peel the potatoes, cut them into cubes and cook them in salty water. As soon as they are cooked, I add a piece of butter and mash them. Do not use milk as it makes the mash very soft and it will melt in the oven. I add the English mustard and stir it well (this gives the mash a beautiful yellow colour) then I set it aside to cool.
I peel the leeks, wash and chop them. I cook them in salty water for about 5 minutes. When done, I squeeze the juice out of them with my hands. The leeks can be done at the same time as the potatoes not to loose time. Then I prepare and chop the dill. Once done, I prepare the sauce. I melt a large knob of butter on medium heat and add the flour. I have to stir it quickly otherwise it will burn. I let it to roast for about a minute then add the milk step by step whilst I keep on stiring it. The sauce will thicken in a little while. Once I got the right consistency (in this case it is worth making it a bit thicker as the leeks will release some juice even after being squeezed), I add some salt, white pepper and nutmeg and a bit of lemon juice. Then I add the dill and the leeks and mix it well. Then comes the fish which I am just about to stir in to the mixture and then pour it into the dish. I add the mash on top and make some patterns on it.
Then it goes to the oven for about 30 minutes 180C fan. It is better to place the dish on an oven tray rather than a grill shelf (makes oven cleaning much simpler) as it normally leaks, no matter how well I sealed the pie.
Tipp: If you want to induldge yourself, add hard boild eggs cut into half under the mash and put some grated cheese on the top of the mash. If you like seafood, you can also add some shrimps to the mixture.
The fish pie has only one problem: it is impossible to serve it beautifully. :)
It is not complicated, is it? Trust me, you will LOVE it. Give it a whirl!
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