Sunday, 31 October 2010

Loaves and Fishes

A second order from fishinabox has landed me some lovely hake fillets. I've wanted to try hake after seeing Hugh FW cook with it as an alternative to cod. Seemingly hake is much more sustainable than cod so worth a try.

My impression on looking at the fillets was how 'meaty' they looked and a lovely colour, more creamy coloured than cod.  I had an urge to make a fish pie, lovely comfort food to mark the changing of the clocks.  

Earlier in the day I'd bought a delicious rosemary and walnut granary loaf from the baker at our local market, so a simple supper of fish pie and rosemary and walnut bread for a late autumn evening.  The sweetness and crunch of the walnuts went beautifully with the delicate fish flavour and soft texture of the pie.

Simple Fish Pie
Serves 4
400g hake fillets or other white fish
300ml milk
half an onion, peeled and sliced
5 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
50g butter
3 tbsp plain flour
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 small leek, washed and sliced
half an onion, peeled and chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
half a glass of dry white wine
potatoes mashed with butter and yoghurt to cover the pie
grated parmesan

Dry the fish with kitchen paper and place in a frying pan.  Pour over the milk and add the peppercorns, onion slices and bay leaf. Cover with a lid and bring to a simmer.  Simmer for 8-10 minutes until the fish flakes.  Remove the fish and place on a plate. Strain the cooking juices through a sieve and reserve, discard the peppercorns, onion slices and bay leaf.

Whilst the fish is cooking add the chopped carrot, onion, leek and garlic to a saucepan with a glug of oil and gently heat to soften the onion. Add the wine and the parsley and simmer gently for about 10 minutes.

Using the reserved cooking juices from the fish make a white sauce as follows. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and stir well to remove any lumps and cook gently for a minute or two. Gradually add the cooking juices, stirring constantly. Bring to the boil and then simmer for a few minutes.

Now make up the pie by adding the flaked fish and the winey vegetable mixture to the white sauce. Put the combined ingredients into a pie dish.  Cover with the creamy mashed potatoes and sprinkle over the parmesan.

Put the pie dish on a  tray and bake in the oven at 200C for about 30 minutes. Then serve in wide bowls (pasta bowls are good) with a couple of chunky slices of buttered rosemary and walnut bread...yummee!

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