A classic, creamy and comforting fish pie has to be one of the most warming dishes I know. It’s fragrant, opulent and somehow still humble at the same time. One of the best things about the dish is that you can fill it with any kind of fish you personally like or have available to you. Salmon is a usual suspect along with white fish like perch, ling or basa… but I’ve been known to hide a prawn or two in there too, along with some snapper or even marinara mix of that’s what I’ve got.
It’s the combination of textures (on top of that fresh seafood taste) that I love. The flaky, mellow flavours of the fish, the pops of added sweetness from the corn and peas, the rich velvet of the creamy white sauce and the crackling crunch of the pastry top.
It’s a versatile dish too. You can add in what ever herbs and spices you personally like. A lot of recipes add a clove or two to the simmering milk, but I like to use fresh basil for its aniseed sweetness instead. You could add nutmeg, ginger, all spice or paprika. It’s entirely up to you. The same goes for the choice of veggies. Use up what you have, jut cut the pieces nice and small. But it’s this versatility that makes a fish pie perfect for 9Honey’s Every Day Kitchen cook-alongs.
What is not negotiable is the pastry crust on top. You have two choices 1.) the delicate crunch of filo baked golden, or 2.) the buttery flakes of a good puff pastry. Breaking through that crust into the creamy sweetness within, that is what fish pie is all about.
Find all the pastry hacks here…
Classic creamy fish pie recipe
Pie filling ingredients:
- 300g boneless white fish fillets (whiting, basa, perch)
- 300g skinless and boneless salmon fillets
- 200ml milk
- 200ml cream
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- spring onion, finely sliced
- 150g frozen peas / corn
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves
- 2-3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped, quartered
- pastry to top pie (filo or puff)
White sauce ingredients:
- 50g butter
- ⅓ cup plain flour
- salt and pepper
- Cook eggs, peel, quarter and set aside. Have a pie tin greased and ready.
- In a saucepan big enough to hold your fish pieces, whisk together milk, cream, basil and mustard. Bring it to a gentle simmer over low heat and then add your salmon and white fish fillets to the milk. Poach gently or 5 mins, or until flaking apart.
- Transfer the fish pieces to your pie tin and set the milk in the pan aside to use in a moment. Using two forks, flake the cooked fillets up into small pieces in the pie dish. Nestle the quartered egg pieces into the fish and then add handfuls of peas and corn and some more shredded basil to fill the pie dish snuggly.
- Tip the milk from the saucepan into a small jug or bowl. Place the saucepan back on the heat and heat the butter until frothy. Fry off the spring onion in the butter until soft. Then add the flour to the pan and whisk to cook the flour and make a roux (paste). Pour the milk into the pan about ½ a cup at a time and whisk to remove lumps. It will thicken and become a lovely white sauce. Season with salt and pepper and then pour the white sauce into the pie tin over and around the fish. Add more shredded basil if you like.
- Taking a couple of sheets of filo pastry at a time, crumple them on top of the pie dish to make a ruffled blanket covering the whole pie. Paint or spray the top of the pastry with some butter or oil. Bake at 180°C for 20 minutes or until the top is crisp and golden and the filling is bubbling around the edges. Allow the pie to cool a little before serving the help it hold its shape when served.
Lemon hacks to serve up with your fish dinner…