Monday, May 24, 2010

New take on fish pie

Owing to the generosity of one of my customers, I often find myself with a number of cans of salmon in the cupboard. It can get quite tricky knowing how to use it all - while I have nothing against a good old fish pie, it's not the sort of thing you can eat every day.

Looking through my Edmonds book, I hit upon a different kind of fish pie: lattice pie (p115) Technically, this recipe uses canned smoked fish, but I wasn't about to go buying canned fish when I already had a heap of it in my cupboard. I decided to give it a go with ordinary canned salmon.

It's a very simple recipe: all you need is a can of fish (the recipe says 310g, but since the standard size tin of fish is 210g, I went with that - and it made plenty. An extra 100g would make too much filling: I suspect a typo), two sheets of bought pre-rolled flaky puff pastry, an onion and some odd bits from the cupboard and fridge.

You begin by frying the onion, somewhat naughtily, in butter. I considered substituting oil here, but wasn't sure how it would impact on the recipe. Having now tasted the end result, I think the butter is important to the flavour. Once that's cooked, you stir through a bit of curry powder, and then some flour. Since I'd acquired a swish red rubber-coated whisk (for the princely sum of $2 from 'The house of W'), I was able to achieve this without any lumps in the mixture, or scratches on the pan.

Next I gradually added milk, stirring with my whisk, which resulted in a thick yellowy paste. At this point I took the pan off the heat, flaked in the drained salmon, added a bit of pepper, and stirred it through. I deviated slightly from the recipe here: since I wasn't using smoked fish, I also grated in a little parmesan for flavour.

While the filling was cooling, I prepared the pastry. One sheet was just laid flat on a greased baking tray, the other I folded in half to cut slits from the fold to 2cm from the edge.

I spread the filling on the base sheet of pastry, leaving a 2cm space around the edge. This edge got dampened a bit with a pastry brush, then I carefully lifted the top sheet on and pressed the edges together. There was a little bit of careful arranging to make the latticey bit straight and untangled, but soon it was on and all that was left was to brush the pastry with a little beaten egg yolk, and put the pie in the oven.

The recipe indicates 220 degrees for 20 minutes; I felt the pie was cooked after 15, but left it in for a few more minutes just in case. The cooking time was still short of 20 minutes when I decided to take it out. I'd say set the timer for 15 minutes, and judge for yourself beyond that. It really did look quite impressive coming out of the oven, considering how little effort had gone into it.

For a fairly simple dish consisting of cheap, everyday ingredients, Lattice pie is really very yummy. With a few veges on the side it was a very satisfying meal. The plain salmon worked just fine with the addition of a little parmesan, but I'd like to try it with the smoked fish sometime too. Of course, what with the pastry and the butter, it's not exactly health food, but it could be worse. Perhaps I will try substituting oil sometime and see how it comes out.


  1. Man, that looks yummy AND simple... I think I might try it for dinner tonight!!

  2. Yay - enjoy! Maybe you can even use your interesting whisky thing (for something other than distracting me while I'm baking, I mean).

    In your case, however, I'd advise you to ignore my suggestion about the parmesan: Liz might be upset with me for suggesting it..


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