Fishing for pie advice
October 1, 2010 7:30 PM   Subscribe

What's your secret to a good fish pie? And what's a good white wine to go with it?

I have cod, shrimp meat, cheese, potatoes, leeks, and peas. I see a lot of different recipes online for fish pie. Do you have a favourite recipe that you like to go to? What tricks do you employ to make it the best pie possible? What white wines go best with a fish pie?
posted by Blazecock Pileon to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Mashed potato topped? Then ensuring your mash is dry is a good move as I find the fish layer inevitably wet. Balances it out.
posted by galaksit at 8:08 PM on October 1, 2010

Best answer: Top with mashed potatoes, yes. Let them brown on top. Use some cream in your filling. I had a delicious fish pie in Boston once that had these large pieces of fish (do not cut too small!).
posted by cmgonzalez at 9:19 PM on October 1, 2010

Best answer: Fish pie is very much Nigel Slater territory. He braises the fish in milk in the pie dish, then uses the milk to make the sauce. It works. The scalloped potato topping works too.
posted by holgate at 10:38 PM on October 1, 2010

Best answer: Smoked cod (properly smoked, not the weird dyed stuff) makes a hell of a fish pie. Or try salt cod (bacahlao) - soak overnight in cool water, change the water and soak until the fish is pliable and flaky then use as normal. Hot smoked mackerel is nice and I've also used smoked salmon (you can buy the end bits really cheap frozen into kilo blocks at some fishmongers - look for something called "cocktail" pieces).

Essentially, I layer my cooked fish with whatever vegetables I have handy - boiled potatoes cut into slices, fried onions or leeks, steamed asparagus, semi-dried tomatoes etc etc, then make a good bechamel sauce and season it well with salt, pepper, herbs (tarragon is good) and/or a sharp cheese (pecorino or parmesan work well, as does a really good cheddar with plenty of bite). I try not to make the sauce too thick (think good cream), and then pour it over my layers, jiggling them a little to make sure it gets everywhere.

Then I top either with breadcrumbs, potato (mashed or scalloped) or with puff pastry. Sprinkle cheese on the potato or eggwash the pastry. Bake in a medium-hot oven until the top is crispy and golden, and serve with a light salad (cucumber is nice) and crusty bread to mop everything up. I'm a wine idiot, but I like a nice, crisp, very cold chardonnay.
posted by ninazer0 at 12:02 AM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In my family it's always a mix of a smoked fish and a white fish, with plenty of onion in a light bechamel. Peas, root veg and hardboiled egg are all optional extras. The cheese goes in the mash on top, which makes it brown up really nicely.

Now I'm hungry.
posted by cali at 1:06 AM on October 2, 2010

Best answer: Hard boiled eggs and capers both make fantastic additions to a fish pie - especially if you have some smoked fish in there. I also like dill as my herb of choice for fish pie.
posted by schmoo at 2:06 AM on October 2, 2010

Best answer: Place the fish in a saucepan, with just enough milk to cover it and a few flakes of butter, and simmer gently for ten minutes. Then strain off the cooking liquid into a jug and put the fish aside (flaked into pieces) for later.

Then melt butter in the original saucepan and stir in flour until it makes a paste. Cook this for a couple of minutes, then slowly add the cooking liquid you strained off earlier (about 300ml), stirring all the time. Simmer this mixture for 5 or 6 minutes, before adding your fish, leeks (maybe softened in a frying pan with butter earlier), peas, a couple of bay leaves (to be removed before adding the topping) and perhaps a chopped hardboiled egg or two. Season with salt and pepper, and lemon juice if you like.

Cover and allow to cool, then place your mashed potato over the top - perhaps sprinkled with grated cheese - and cook on a high shelf in your oven for around 30 mins. You want it nice and golden brown on top.


And on preview: adding the shrimp meat you mention in there wouldn't hurt at all.
posted by knapah at 5:45 AM on October 2, 2010

Best answer: I don't eat fish, but I do know that that cream, as cmgonzalez suggested, is a standard ingredient in Welsh fish pies. And I'd think that you'd want yours to be a bit Welsh.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:08 AM on October 2, 2010

Best answer: We just made a lovely home attempt at recreating bluefish en croute. Our go was with standard pie crust (top & bottom), bluefish chunks, and a cream-based white sauce. It was delightful, but needed more filling - potatoes?

Pinot grigio, FTW, as our wine pairing.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:41 PM on October 3, 2010

Best answer: I love me a glass of Muscadet with most things fishy.
posted by ouke at 1:49 AM on October 6, 2010

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