Wave Goodbye to Fish Pie

When I brought up the serious topic of ploughed potato fields versus potato mountains on Shepherds Pie, I thought I had put all the arguments to bed. There were some feeble-minded individuals who suggested that I might have been wrong about the ploughed fields. I will deal with them another time. Flori over at Flori Cooks had the effrontery to suggest that the mountains on a Fish Pie should be replaced with waves. “WAVES?” I thought. Where does she get off telling me how to do my fish pie?

I live in a house with four females including the dog. This gives rise to a condition that those who are not at the mercy of the fairer sex cannot understand. When a thought gets subtly planted by the ascendant female, it burrows its way in and, at some later stage, the downtrodden lone male drags the thought up, believing it to be his own. This is how Flori, who lives on a different continent and whom I have never met, managed to get me to cook Fish Pie with Wave Potatoes. Thus waving goodbye to my fish pie.

Fish Pie

Really fresh cod and salmon with real smoked haddock. Fine fish = fine fish pie.

Here’s what you will need:

  • A big piece fo cod or other white fish
  • Some nice salmon pieces
  • Half a smoked haddock
  • A head of brocoli
  • A big bunch of parsley
  • A small amount of strong English mustard
  • Half a litre of milk
  • A heaped tablespoon of flour
  • A very generous knob of butter
  • Grated mature cheddar or similar hard cheese
  • Plenty of good mashing potatoes (I used Roosters)

Side note: Get real smoked haddock if possible. The glowing yellow fish that so many of you think is smoked is just some spurious fish painted with a smoke flavoured dye (Or is that die?).

Here’s what to do

Put the potatoes on to boil. When they are done, add some milk and butter. Then mash them. At the risk of boring yourself, mash them again and again. You will be feeling a little weak by the time they are smooth enough. Put the milk, flour and butter into a saucepan and heat until you have a white sauce. Let it bubble for a while to be sure the flour is cooked. Add the grated cheese bit by bit. Chop the fish into chunks and throw them into the oven dish.

Fresh fish

Gratuitous skinned salmon shot. “Almost too good to put in a pie”, you say. “Don’t be silly”, I say.

Season with salt and pepper. Trim the brocoli (to avoid eating lots of stalks) and add to the pie dish.

Fish Pie

The Fish Pie starting to take shape. A good spread of the various bits of fish and brocoli is important.

Pour the sauce over the fish.

Fish Pie

The very cheesy sauce. A nice bit of English mustard helps give it a lift.

Chop the parsley pretty fine and make a layer of parsley over the fish.

Fish Pie

A layer of parsley adds another layer of flavour.

Next comes the potato waves. This involves piping the mash onto the top of the pie in a wave pattern. Do a couple of rows and then involve some guests. It will make them feel that they are part of what you are doing and they will take some of the credit for the final dish. It also gets you out of a very tedious process. This worked for me. I used the time that I saved to make a potato fish.

Fish Pie

Suckers! Look at them go. Note the ‘Press, drag, lift and fork’ action to give perfect waves.

When the pie is complete, pop it in the oven at 200 degrees C for 50 minutes or until the sea is bubbling. Serve the pie to your hungry guests.

Fish Pie

A seafaring epic depicted on the top of a pie. On top of an epic pie that is.

I don’t know whether Flori has completely cured me of potato mountains but I have to admit, the waves worked pretty well and certainly looked excellent. My potato fish (of which I was pretty proud) went to Davy Jones Locker along with the rest of the pie.

Fish Pie

It would have been rude not to serve a half decent drop with it. Perfect paring.

I wonder, was that potato fish really my own idea? I THINK it was. Damn those women…

One portion left for a reheat the next day. The proof of the pie is in the eating?

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  • Fantastic family fish action! Tasty too 🙂

  • I have never had a fish pie but it certainly sounds good.

  • Can I have dibs on that last piece or is it already spoken for? The weather is getting cooler and this fish pie sounds so comforting and delicious and I love your waves. Take care, BAM

  • Wow, that looks delicious!

  • A big potato wave from across the pond on another continent! What a great start to my day. The pit looks pretty great too. Cheers!

  • Awesome stuff! Keep up the good work Conor 🙂

  • So, it’s not one man’s meat, after all. Welcome to my world. Outstanding dish, by the way!

  • That looks amazing, I love fish pies, so comforting at this time of year when it’s cold outside. Yours looks amazing, mine are always more sloppy! Your post is responsible for giving me the major munchies and making me glum that I only have some defrosted curry waiting for me at home tonight 🙁

  • I’ve no idea about fields, mountains or waves being better or worse, but I do know that looks like a fantastic fish pie 🙂

  • So goodl!

  • Fish pie is new to me but it looks wonderful! And your photography does it justice as always!

  • Good evening, Conor! I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything like this. Love the fish in the waves!
    I’ve tried oven dishes with fish a few times a looooong time ago, and usually ended up with a wet mess from all the liquid released by the fish. This recipe doesn’t seem to have that problem, do you know why?
    Don’t think we have smoked haddock. I could smoke some myself, or sub with smoked mackerel?

      • To be honest hot-smoking is the easiest thing once you have the smoker (which is not expensive, 30-60 euros). And so tasty it’s hard to believe 🙂

  • Now i need to know what you have done with your camera. – your earlier photos look like mine do now. What did you do – new lens, different settings – come on spill the beans!!

  • This looks so delicious and sounds so very British. I don’t think we smoke haddock here in the US – what about trout?

      • well that’s cool cause I’m Irish too

  • The bubbling sea is making me hungry! What a nice fish pie 🙂

  • Yay, fish pie is something new to me! And, I would settle for comfort food any day.

  • OK Conor, I am back once more – hope this works.
    That (irish!) fish pie, waves and leaping fish! is absolutely delishes. I agree with you, smoked salmon=in, scollops=in, real! smoked haddock=in, broccoli-out (peas instead) and I sometimes used to put a couple of roughly chopped hardboiled eggs in, too (would it become english now?). lol – One other thing, it never occured to me until reading the above that there are actually people who never had this wonderful comfort food. I hope they will try this out now. Take care, Ciao, Carina

  • Bottom line is not to care whose idea it was! I love fish pie and smoked haddock. I could see only using the smoked haddock or cod too.
    Piping potatoes in any way shape or form is a feat to be proud of and not many could be bothered. Well done.
    I’ve actually enjoyed witnessing my own photo taking learning curve. Though I cringe at early pics, I’ve sworn to myself I would leave them up to keep me humble. Having said that, I too am still only a short way up the bottom side of the learning curve. But I do love Lightroom and am sure I have only scratched the surface of it’s potential. cheers….wendy

  • Worth to try! <3 my fav ingredients <3

  • I tried your recipe the last time you blogged about the fish pie and it was delicious! Hmmm but now I too am a little intrigued by the waves and just might have to make fish pie again this week!

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