Like most people who care about good food, I’m a vocal (and now digital!) advocate of keeping food simple and relying on the quality of the ingredients. Fish pie is one of those dishes that can easily be overcomplicated, and so be daunting to make. This version takes little preparation and will be at the table in under an hour.
half a swede, a couple of parsnips or a celeriac
half a head of cauliflower
some mild cheddar cheese
a knob of butter
2 fillets of smoked haddock (or any fish you fancy or need to use up)
2 handfuls of raw prawns (shellfish such as mussels or clams are good too)
300ml double cream
a good handful of chopped flat leaf parsley (if I don’t have parsley I use spinach or rocket)
a pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper
Boil the swede, parsnip or celeriac in salted water and steam the cauliflower until soft enough to mash (15-20 minutes). Steaming the cauliflower prevents it from making the mash watery. Mash the cooked vegetables (I use an electric hand blender), adding the butter, cheese, a grinding of pepper and a pinch of salt.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C. Cut the fish into bite sized pieces (don’t waste the skin!) and place in an oven dish.I make this recipe for two and use two individual oven-proof oval dishes. Scatter a the prawns over the fish and finish with the chopped parsley. Mix the fish, prawns and parsley a little then pour over the cream. Grate a dusting of nutmeg over the top.
Top with the slightly cooled mash, smooth and fork to create peaks that will brown in the oven. Dot some butter over the top of the mash. Put the dish or dishes in the centre of the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes until the cream is bubbling and the mash has browned to your liking.