It's difficult to get my husband to enjoy a white fish dish - he'll eat it, but he won't necessarily enjoy it. However, this time, after we'd finished eating (and he'd taken second helpings, might I add) he turned to me and said, "that was yum babe."
One simple word: Success.
What is unique about this Fish & Potato Top Pie you ask? Well, for starters, the sauce/filling is divine. I used a fresh vegetable stock, which I added anchovies, mustard, lemon and caper berries to. This gives it a bit of a bang, but still maintains its 'homely' feeling, nothing too 'gourmet,' if you know what I mean.... The cheesy topping is satisfying and warming, and the parsley and spinach ensure you get your greens! Suffice to say, we were pretty chuffed after dinner.
I made this dish the week before I went into Birthcare to have our son. I spilt it between three pie dishes; one for dinner that night, and two for the freezer for after baby boy Heyhoe arrived. 'Bookmark' this recipe as one to make for friends having a new baby, going through a rough patch, or even for yourself to freeze for later use. Think of it as an "alternative" to the typical casserole one takes to a family member - let me tell you, it can be difficult to come up with something other than beef or chicken to offer one during that time, which is why this fish dish is a winner!
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Fish & Potato Top Pie
Serves 6 - 8
For the filling:
50g organic white spelt flour
2 cups vegetable stock
400mls whole milk
4 bay leaves
2 Tbsp caper berries
2 - 3 anchovies
juice of half a lemon
1 heaped tsp dijon mustard
75g grated edam cheese
handful of chopped parsley
800g white fish filets (tarakihi, cod, gurnard)
3 large handfuls of spinach
For the topping:
7 medium-sized potatoes, pealed and cut in quarters
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
handful of grated edam cheese
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
For the filling:
- In a large pan, melt the butter until just bubbling. Sprinkle over flour and whisk into the melted butter. Allow to cook on low - medium heat for three minutes, or until the mixture has thickened slightly and the flour is cooked.
- Slowly pour the vegetable stock into the pan, constantly whisking the mixture as you pour. Do the same with the milk, constantly whisking.
- Add the bay leaves and caper berries.
- Turn the heat to medium, and allow the mixture to bubble, whisking every now and again, while the mixture thickens.
- When the mixture is at a medium thickness, add the lemon juice, anchovies, and mustard. Stir well, and continue to simmer on medium heat for ten minutes, stirring every now and again so the mixture doesn't stick to the base of the pan.
- Add the grated cheese, salt, and pepper and stir gradually to melt the cheese. Stir through the parsley.
- Remove from the heat and then remove the bay leaves.
- Steam or wilt spinach for a couple minutes. Set aside.
For the topping:
- Place the prepared potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with warm water. Bring to the boil and allow to cook for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife.
- Drain the potatoes and add the remaining topping ingredients. Mash well until light and fluffy.
- Place the raw fish fillets on the bottom of a large baking dish or in several dishes as I have done (see image).
- Top the fish with the spinach, then evenly pour over the filling mixture, and level with a spoon.
- Dollop over spoons of mashed potato and spread roughly with a fork.
- Sprinkle over grated cheese and place in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes, or until bubbling hot and golden.
- Serve with peas or a fresh green salad.
Note on freezing: If you plan on freezing this meal as I have done, I suggest you place it in the freezer just after spreading the potato over top. When you are ready to eat the meal, allow to thaw out of the freezer, preheat oven to 180 degrees, top with grated cheese, and follow the remaining cooking instructions.
Feed, nourish, value yourself.