Creamy fish pie
With Claire Gourley
This is pretty much a variation on cottage pie, but I had to include it because it is such a favourite at my house and it is seriously economical. It's one of those timeless standbys - a can of fish, a packet of frozen vegetables and some potatoes and you'll have a lip-smacking treat in no time! Make it either in a large baking dish or individual ones.
For the potato top
5-6 mashing potatoes
2 Tbsp butter or margarine
1/4 cup milk
For the fish filling
3 tbsp butter or margarine
1 onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 cups milk
310 g can drained smoked fish fillets
2 cups frozen vegetables (any will do - e.g. peas, carrot, corn or beans)
COOK THE POTATOES
Peel the potatoes and cut into even-sized pieces. Place in a saucepan and almost cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes or until softened. You can tell they are cooked if they are soft when you stab them with a knife. Drain the potatoes, add the butter or margarine and milk. Mash until smooth and creamy. See my YouTube video for how to mash potatoes.
MAKE THE WH ITE SAUCE FOR THE FISH FILLING
While the potatoes are cooking, make the white sauce.
In the microwave: Place the butter or margarine and the onion in a microwave-proof bowl. Cook on high power for 1 1/2 minutes. Add the flour and cook another minute on high power. Gradually add the milk, stirring until it is well mixed with no lumps - except the onions! Return to the microwave and cook for 4-5 minutes or until thickened. Stir a couple of times during cooking.
On the stovetop: Melt the butter or margarine in a saucepan. Add the onion and sauté on a moderate heat for 3-4 minutes or until the onion has softened. Turn the heat down to low. Add the flour and mix well over the heat for another minute. Gradually (this is important!) add the milk, stirring continuously to avoid any lumps. See my YouTube video for how to make white sauce.
Add the fish, liquid from the can and vegetables to the white sauce. Mix well to break the fish up a bit. Pour into a baking dish or four individual ramekins. Top with the mashed potatoes. Spray with olive oil if you want a really crunchy top. Place under the grill for 5-10 minutes or until golden brown.
(TX: 18 October 2011)