Creamy FIsh Pie

A comforting dish packed with an array of vegetables, concealed under a golden cauliflower and mashed potato topping, a stealthy way of helping veggie-averse kids to eat their five-a-day.

An eagle-eyed reader spotted that the butter was missing in the list of ingredients. A bit of sleuthing uncovered that it disappeared from the manuscript while the ingredients we put in the correct order – somehow that butter just melted away! You can also use olive oil instead if you prefer.

Butter will add 30 calories to eaach serving and olive oil 20 calories.

Serves: 6 generously
Pie can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance then baked as required.
Per serving: 370 cals, 32 g carbs

1⁄2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion
8 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1⁄2 tsp salt
2 parsley sprigs
300 g (11 oz) cod or haddock fillet
425 ml (15 fl oz) milk
300 g (11 oz) skinless salmon fillet
squeeze of lemon juice

For the sauce
25g (1 oz) butter or 1 tbsp olive oil
white part of a leek
2 rounded tbsp flour
reserved milk from poaching the fish
1⁄2 tsp salt
20 grinds black pepper
shake of white pepper
125 g (4 oz) baby spinach
3 tbsp snipped fresh dill
squeeze fresh lemon juice
50 g (2 oz) grated extra mature cheddar

For the topping
750g (1 lb 10 oz) large potatoes
350g (12 oz) cauliflower
6 tbsp milk
25 g (1 oz) butter
1⁄4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp fine sea salt
pinch of white pepper


Lightly oil a gratin dish 28-30 cm (11”-12”) long and at least 5 cm (2”) deep with the 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil. Peel and thinly slice the onion.

Put the fish in a wide pan, preferably non-stick, with the onion, bay leaf, peppercorns, salt and parsley. Add the milk, lemon juice and just enough water to cover. Bring slowly to the boil then remove from the heat, cover and leave to stand for 10 minutes although longer will do no harm.

Remove the fish from the pan then strain the poaching liquid into a measuring jug. There should be about 430 ml (15 fl oz). If necessary, make up the difference with some extra milk. Remove any skin and small bones from the fish, then flake the flesh very coarsely with a fork and arrange in an even layer in the gratin dish.

To make the sauce, put the butter or oil and the trimmed, thinly sliced leek into a saucepan and cook for 5 minutes. Add the flour, stirring well, and cook for 2 minutes, then pour in the milk and seasonings, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat and bubble for 2 minutes until thickened. Off the heat, stir in the spinach, dill, lemon juice and cheddar. Pour over the fish.

To make the topping, peel and quarter the potatoes. Put them in a pan with enough water to cover and a teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Break the cauliflower into florets, add to the potatoes and boil for a further 10 minutes or until the potatoes and cauliflower are tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Drain the vegetables then return to the pan.

Over low heat, trickle the milk down the side of the pan. When it begins to steam, add the butter and seasonings, then mash until smooth (easiest with an electric whisk). Spread the topping in an even layer over the fish and mark decoratively with a fork.

Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is a rich golden brown and you can just see the filling bubbling at the sides.

Creamy FIsh Pie

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