Sunday, June 24

Smoked Haddock & Egg Fish Pie

I have this on the menu at the pub and it just flies out - probably due to the crappy summer weather we are having. This recipe is a nice twist on the classic mash topped pie and if you cook it right, the egg should still be soft boiled in the middle - cue gasps of amazement from your guests at your cheffy skill. For four pies:

Naturally smoked and un-dyed haddock - 500g
White fish fillet such as haddock, pollock, hake - 500g
Spring onions - 1 bunch, washed and finely chopped
Butter - 50g
All butter puff pastry - 1 block (I think they come in 500g packets)
250ml milk
250ml cream
Plain flour - 1 heaped tbsp
Dill - 1 small bunch, chopped
Large free range eggs - 5

Boil a deep pan of water and when up to a rolling boil, drop in four of the eggs and cook for 6 mins. Drain and cool rapidly in iced water. When cold, peel and refrigerate - you need the yolks to be fridge cold so do this in advance.

Skin and bone the fish fillets (or get your fishmonger to do this) - chop into large chunks and cover with the milk and cream in a suitable saucepan. Place on a low heat and slowly bring up to near boiling. Take the pan off the heat and allow the fish to cook through in the residual heat of the liquid. After 20 mins or so, drain the fish in a colander reserving the liquid. In clean pan gently fry off the spring onions in the butter until just soft. Add the flour and mix in well to make a roux. With the pan still on the heat slowly add the reserved milk - a bit at a time - and using a hand whisk, beat the milk into the roux until a smooth thick sauce is achieved. Simmer the sauce for a few minutes to cook out the flour then allow to cool. 

Mix the cooked fish and the dill through the cooled white sauce taking care not the break the fish up into too small a pieces. Season well. Divide the mix between four individual ceramic pie dishes. Make a 'well' in the centre of each and drop in the cold eggs, one per pie. Beat the remaining egg and roll out the pastry to the thickness of a penny. Cut rough circles of pastry that will cover the pie tops and overhang by 2cm.

Egg wash the rims of the pie dishes and a little of the outside edges. Lay a pie lid on top of the pie dishes and fold the edges over, completely covering the filling and adhering the pastry to the outside of the pie dish. Glaze with egg and bake in a hot oven (220c) for 15 mins or until the pastry has puffed and is golden. Check the pie mix is hot by using a thermometer - if the mix is around 70c* the pie will be hot enough to eat but the egg in the middle will be just warm and still soft boiled. If the pies are not hot enough drop the temperature and cook for a little longer.

*Technically the reheat temperature of the pies should be over 83c and I would suggest you heat all shop bought goods to this temperature to ensure they are safe to eat. But as we have just made this fish mix, we know it is safe to eat at a lower temperature or even cold.

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