A big old bowl of comfortable. That's prob the simplest and best way to describe this gourmet fish pie. It's got the elegance level to be served at a dinner party but you can't beat this, the couch, a glass of wine, and your favourite TV show. There has been a lot of that lately - eating good food, drinking EXCESS wine and Netflix binging 😉
WHAT FISH CAN I USE?
The worlds you oyster here - well the ocean is! For me, I like to use a combo of smoked and unsmoked fish. Probably 75-80% unsmoked and 20-25% smoked fish. You get great flavour from the smokey fish but you need to be careful to balance it. The last thing you want/need is to overpower the beautiful delicate fish in the pie. The BEST advice I can give is to use fresh fish - I pick mine up from the Fresh Fish Co here in Brisbane. Their quality is second to none and the guys are a pleasure to deal with too. More importantly, if you are going to freeze leftovers you need to start with using the freshest product possible!
Firm but flaky fish is the way to go here. You don't want something that's going to end up tough but also something that's going to turn to mush. It's important to pay attention to the cooking times too so that you have evenly cooked fish. For me, things like salmon, haddock, cod, barramundi, emperor fish all work beautifully. Stick clear of the likes of tuna or swordfish for a fish pie.
MAKING GOURMET FISH PIE SAUCE
There are 2 trains of thought here. One is that the fish should be lightly poached in milk before cooking it and then use that milk to make the sauce or the one I prefer to do - KEEP IT SIMPLE! You will see that I just place the raw fish into a shallow casserole dish and make the sauce separately. I then pour it over and let the oven do the magic!
What we are doing is making a simple white sauce. Firstly we start by frying the leeks & garlic gently in butter. Then we add the white wine (or dry vermouth) & lemon juice and cook it out for a minute. This will leave the flavour of the wine but not the taste of alcohol to your dish. Save that for the Audrey Wilkinson Semillion which I'll tell you about later! Next, add flour and stir it in. Add the stock, milk, cream, and a pinch of salt. You want to cook the sauce on a simmer for approx 4-5 minutes. The important thing here is the consistency of the sauce. Whatever the consistency you have now will be the consistency you are finished with. The reason being is we add potato on top so the steam/liquid from the sauce has nowhere to go. If you leave you the sauce too runny you will be left with a watery fish pie!
CAN I FREEZE FISH PIE?
You sure can! Well, you can if your family hasn't demolished it all! The beauty of making most pies is that you can make them a little bit bigger and freeze the leftovers. Make sure it's completely cooled. I like to place it in the fridge overnight and then portion it out before freezing it. If it's still warm then placing in the fridge then leave it to cool uncovered so that you don't increase the chance of bacteria growing. Another reason you don't want to place warm/hot food into the freezer is you can slightly defrost other food around it which isn't great and/or damage your freezer by the sudden fluctuation in temperature!
REHEATING GOURMET FISH PIE
Before you start reheating any fish pie make sure you defrost it fully. The best practice is to either take it out the night before or morning of from the freezer and let it slowly come to temperature. For those of us who are less organised then leave it in the kitchen sink to defrost quicker. Just don't forget about it!!
For me, there are 2 main ways to reheat fish pie. The handy microwave - it's fast & efficient. Once defrosted it will take minutes to reheat your dinner. Leaving more time for season 100 of Home & Away or Neighbours 😉 The disadvantage of a microwave is you need to stir up the food to make sure it's evenly heated which leaves you with a slightly less appealing looking dish. You also don't get the nice crispy potato topping. That's why I recommend using the oven. It takes longer - 15/20 minutes but it will cook the pie evenly and crisp up those potatoes nicely again adding some texture to the pie again.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH FISH PIE
Do you ever remember going to the local "Italian" restaurant and ordering lasagna and being asked do you want chips or salad with that? Carb OVERLOAD!! Don't get me wrong as a kid I always chose the chips/fries but that's because my waistline wasn't growing as quickly as my now 3.5-year-old is. I swear we just bought her new pyjamas and 1 month later she has outgrown them!!
Salad, for me salad is the best thing to serve with fish pie. I recommend a bag of mixed leaves, some thin slices of apple with a little lemon oil. Simple AF and it adds some bright flavours and acidity to the dish too.
Semillon. Semillon is my first choice when having fish pie. I prefer a younger Semillon to go with my gourmet fish pie and that's why I recommend the Audrey Wilkinson Winemaker Selection 2019 Semillon. I describe this wine as young and bright. Green apple, plenty of lemon and lime going on too. A little steeliness from it and slightly drying in the form of talc but there is a generous amount of acidity that makes your mouth fill with juices on the back palate. Solid length, drinking beautifully, and BELIEVE me even Mrs. AnotherFoodBlogger who is VERY picky with her wines thought this was a match made in heaven.
I mentioned a youthful Semillon works best with this dish. Don't get me wrong, aged Semillons work wonderfully with shellfish and seafood too. I just happen to prefer the lighter, brighter more acidity than a younger one offers. For those of you who don't know Semillon is a white grape that can typically age beautifully so if you have some in your cellar hide a couple in the back and enjoy them in 5-10 years time. If I'm still here inspiring away let me know your thoughts!
ALTERNATIVE FISH RECIPES
Not feeling the fish pie or maybe feeling the need for further inspiration then check out some more of my recipes and some from fellow foodie friends!
Gin & Beetroot Cured Salmon by Yours Truly
Asian Pear Salad & Hot Smoked Salmon by Phenie Ooi of 'The Devil Wears Salad'
Fresh Seasoned Kingfish w/ Lemon Gremolata by Keto Queen Megan Ellam of 'Mad Creations Hub'
Crispy Fish Sandwich w/ Pickled Jalapeno Aioli by Yours Truly
Smoked Salmon Quiche w/ Leeks by Sylvie Gruber of 'A Baking Journey'
Baked Whole Fish - Asian Style by Yours Truly
Smoked Salmon Caesar Salad by Robyn Jones of 'Mrs. Jones Kitchen'
Tuna & Potato Patties by Alexandra Cook of 'It's Not Complicated Recipes'
Grilled Sriracha Barramundi with Tequilla Pineapple Salsa by Jaimie Archer of 'Jaimie Eats'
Happy Cooking and Happy Eating Friends!!
- 300 g salmon skinless
- 200 g white fish snapper, emperor, cod, barramundi
- 10 prawns peeled
- 150 g smoked fish
- 75 g frozen peas
- 2 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 lemon zested
- 1 leek sliced
- 5 g dill
- Salt & Pepper
- 50 ml white wine
- 4 tbsp flour
- 250 ml fish or veg stock
- 200 ml milk
- 50 g butter
- 50 ml cream
- 1 kg potatoes peeled & cut into 2cm pieces
- 100 g butter cut into cubes
- 50 g cream
- Boil potatoes in heavily salted water until you can pierce easily with knife. Approx 15 minutes
- Drain and allow to steam for a further minute *see tips*
- Mash using a potato masher or ricer and stir through butter and cream. Set aside
- Cut fish into 2cm pieces, place in a shallow casserole dish
- Add peas, dill, lemon zest and some salt/pepper
- Meanwhile, fry the leeks & garlic in a frying pan with the butter and a drizzle of olive oil until softened (3-4 minutes)
- Add white wine and allow to cook/reduce for a minute
- Add flour and stir into leeks, Add stock, milk, cream & lemon juice. Stir continuously until there are no lumps and sauce thickens *see tips* (4 minutes)
- Season sauce with salt & pepper and pour over fish. Stir to combine
- Once cooled slightly add the pre made mashed potatoes, flatten out and use a fork to add little bumps to the mash *see tips*
- Bake in the oven for 20 minutes @ 200c or until golden brown *see tips*
- Serve it on it’s own or with a nice mixed leaf and sliced apple salad.
- chopping board
- chef knives
- measuring utensils
- shallow casserole dish
- frying pan
- potato masher/ricer
- it’s important to allow the drained potatoes to steam for a further minute – this allows any excess moisture to disappear giving you a lighter & fluffier mash
- don’t skimp on the butter in the mash – trust me ?
- when thickening the sauce for the pie thicken it to the finished consistency you want as it won’t reduce further in the oven as it is topped with potato
- using a fork on the mash potato topping will give you little lumpy bits which will crisp up and add a beautiful texture to the topping
- if your mash hasn’t browned up sufficiently after the 20 minutes you can pop it under the grill for a couple mins
- fish pie freezes great. To reheat it I recommend using the oven on a low temp (150c) so that the potatoes crisp up again. Using a microwave works quicker but you won’t have any texture from the potato topping this way