Festive Fish Pie by Rosemary Moon

Serves 8

I always try to serve fish on Christmas Eve as a good contrast to the meat feast to come! Fish pie is the favourite, but it can be quite a fiddle when you want to relax with friends and family, so this Festive Fish Pie recipe is ideal.

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 stick celery
  • 500g cod fillet
  • 500g salmon fillet
  • A pinch of saffron strands, a bay leaf and 6 black peppercorns
  • 500ml milk (approx)
  • 75g butter
  • 75g flour
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large eggs, hard-boiled
  • 200g cooked prawns
  • 2 tbsp capers (optional)

Topping

  • 50g hazelnuts
  • 2 large handfuls freshly chopped parsley
  • 50g Red Leicester cheese
  • 125g dried white breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Prepare and finely chop the vegetables into 6mm dice. Skin the fish and cut into 5cm strips.
  2. Heat the veg in a large, deep frying pan with the seasonings and 4cm of water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, then add the fish and poach briefly for 4 minutes. Remove the fish and vegetables to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Strain the liquor into a jug to remove the peppercorns and bay leaves. Measure the liquor and make it up to 1 litre with milk, returning it to the rinsed out pan.
  3. Chop the butter into small pieces and add it to the pan with the flour. Heat, stirring constantly, until combined into a smooth sauce, then continue stirring while cooking it for 1 minute. Season to taste, then pour over the fish and allow to cool completely. Turn into a suitable container and freeze until required.
  4. Remove the fish from the freezer 24 hours before required and defrost it in the fridge.
  5. Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 200°C. Scoop the fish into a large ovenproof dish, then add the eggs, prawns and capers and combine them gently, so that the fish stays in large pieces.
  6. Roughly chop the hazelnuts, finely chop the parsley and grate the cheese, then mix them all with the breadcrumbs. Spoon evenly over the fish then bake for 30-40 minutes, until the topping has browned. Serve with a leafy salad or green vegetables and crusty bread.