Fish pie is a favorite meal for special occasions at my house. We had it on Sunday. Preparing it was almost as much fun as eating it because I had company in the kitchen while I was cooking. The scrumptious aroma of mushrooms and garlic sizzling in the skillet seemed to exert a magical pull, bringing family members into the kitchen repeatedly, to check how much longer until we could eat.
This is a meal worth lingering over, and that's what we did. The misty rain and grey clouds outside, was a nice couterpoint to the the cozy scene inside- the chardonnay, a crackling fire, some jazz music on the stereo, the fish pie, and vanilla ice cream with strawberries. I think the dessert is what motivated the kids to linger, but whatever works. I enjoyed the food and the conversation with my loved ones. The recipe I use is from one of my favorite cookbooks, called Apples for Jam, by Tessa Kiros.
Sauce: 2 TBS Butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth, warmed
1/2 cup salt and freshly ground pepper
4 TBS Butter
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
2 1/4 cups sliced button mushrooms
3 TBS white wine
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 lb. skinless halibut, cod, or snapper fillets
1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 TBS chopped fresh parsley
6 to 7 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
lemon wedges to serve
For the sauce, melt the butter in a smallish saucepan and then stir in the flour. Cook for a minute or so over medium heat and then add the broth, whisking well to make a smooth sauce. Let it bubble up for a few minutes and then stir in the cream. Taste for salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 400F and butter in a 13 by 9 by 2 1/2 inch ovenproof dish. Heat 1 1/2 TBS. of the butter and the garlic in a frying pan and when it is sizzling, add the mushrooms and a little salt. Saute over high heat, shifting the mushrooms around with a wooden spoon until all the juices have evaporated and they turn golden. Remove from the heat.
Cut the fish into large chuncks of about 2 inches and put in the bottom of your dish. Scrape the mushrooms out over the fish, then add the shrimp. Scatter the parsley and a few grinds of pepper. Pour the sauce over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and a bit golden here and there.
Meanwhile. boil the potatoes in salted water until soft. Heat the remaining butter in milk. Drain the potatoes and mash them. Beat in the rest of the butter and the warm milk and season.
Arrange the mashed potatoes in dollops just around the rim of the dish, then bake the pie for another 10 minutes or so, or until the mash is a little golden in places. Leave it to stand for 5 or 10 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.