From The Gamble:
“Smells good,” he murmured when his head came up.
God, he could “mm” great in that gravelly way of his.
Okay, hang on a second, I have to think of Max murmuring “Mm…”
Right, I’m back.
And now I get to think about fish pie.
Normally, the words “fish pie” would not make me excited. I can’t say I’m a fish type o’ gal. If I can order a steak or a burger at some joint, no way am I getting the sea bass.
Unless it’s lobster. Watch out if there’s lobster on offer. I’d sell a kidney for lobster.
Cod or haddock? No. Whenever I went to a chippy when I lived in England, I got a battered sausage. I’m all about sausage.
Fish…that just isn’t me.
But then I found this. And it has cream and cheese.
Yes…cream and cheese!
So obviously I had to make it, fiddle with it and give it to Nina to give to Max in The Gamble!
- 5-6 Large Potatoes (8-10 Small), peeled and diced
- 2 Eggs (I can be greedy with eggs so I use 3-4)
- 1 Onion (I use yellow), finely chopped
- 1 Carrot, finely chopped
- Olive Oil
- 1 1/3 Cup Heavy Cream
- 2-3 Cups Sharp Cheddar (if you can find real English Cheddar, use that)
- Lemon Juice, a couple of healthy squirts or the juice of one lemon
- 1 Big-Ass Teaspoon of English Mustard
- 3-4 Salmon Fillets, boned and de-skinned
- 8-10 Uncooked Large Shrimp, deveined with shells off.
How to do it…
Preheat oven to 450F/230C
Get out a casserole dish. I use a Le Creuset 12” x 9” that’s around 2” deep. You want the fish to be mostly covered in the sauce and have room for your potatoes on top. Not mounds of fish in a shallow pool of sauce and your potatoes fill in the gaps.
Now boil your potatoes in salted water. If you’d like, you can add the eggs a couple of minutes into the boiling tme so they cook to hard-boiled, which should take 8-10 minutes. If you do the eggs and taters together, be careful when you add the egg to the water, you don’t want it cracking! Gulk.
Drain the potatoes and remove the eggs. Run cold water over the eggs so you can handle them and then peel and quarter them. You’ll come back to the eggs, but mash your potatoes using some salt and pepper and olive oil, milk or cream (however you do your mash) to flavor.
Right! That’s done, onward to the sauce.
Drizzle a bit of olive oil into the bottom of a skillet and fry the onion and carrot for a few minutes, until they begin softening. Don’t do this too fast, you don’t want them to burn.
Add the double cream and bring it nearly to boil. Take it off the heat and throw in the cheese, lemon and mustard.
Grab your casserole dish and put in the fillets and sprinkle the shrimp and egg quarters around. Pour the cream sauce on top. Spread your mashed potatoes on top of the fish and sauce.
I put this on a baking sheet in case the sauce bubbles up and around seeing as I don’t want that baked-on-burnt-on gunk at the bottom of my oven.
Slide your dish on its tray into the oven and cook for 25-30 minutes (the potatoes and bubbly sauce should just start to brown).
Take it out, let it settle for a few minutes, dish it up and gobble it down!
If you and your family/guests are hungry, like seriously hungry, this serves four. But you could push it to six with some yummy veg and bread served with.
Just a note: Don’t use cooked shrimp. The shrimp will get rubbery and gross if it’s cooked then baked again. Don’t worry about it or the salmon cooking. It’ll start doing this just by pouring the sauce over it. But the baking will take care of the rest.
FYI: This recipe is based largely on Jamie Oliver’s “Fantastic Fish Pie” from his book Return of the Naked Chef. You can find the original recipe by Googling it. He uses haddock, adds spinach and parsley but also has a haddock and salmon version with chili powder online.
In other words, there are multiple varieties of this awesomeness, thanks to Mr. Oliver. Check ’em out!