A luxurious fish pie from Diana Henry which can be made in advance and warmed in the oven when you are ready to serve.
Fish Pie with Saffron Mash (6)
Fish Pie with Saffron Mash (6)
Put the stock in a saucepan with the onion, parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns, bring to the boil and reduce until you have 400ml. Transfer the stock (including the onion and aromatics) with the wine to a sauté pan and bring to the boil.
Lower the heat and add the fillets. Cover and poach for three minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the fish with a slotted spoon and set aside. Keep the poaching liquor.
Heat 15g of butter and the oil in a frying pan and, once it’s hot, cook the scallops for a minute on each side. They should be pale gold. Set aside.
Strain the fish-poaching liquid. Melt 50g of the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Stir together to combine and form a roux, then take the pan off the heat and gradually add the fish-poaching liquid. Do this a little at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition to ensure the mixture stays smooth.
When all the liquid has been added put the pan back on the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. The mixture will be thick. Season, turn down the heat and cook for two minutes, to cook out the flour. Add the cream and simmer for a minute.
Trim the leeks and remove the outer leaves if they are coarse (discard these, or keep them for a soup). Slice the leeks into 1.5cm-thick rounds. Wash well.
Melt the rest of the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the leeks. Turn them over so that they get well coated in the butter. Season, add a couple of tablespoons of water, then cover with a lid and sweat the leeks over a low heat for about 10 minutes. You might need to add a splash more water to ensure that they don’t catch and burn on the bottom of the pan, but don’t add too much. If the mixture is very wet at the end, turn up the heat to drive off some of the moisture.
Put the fish and scallops into a 2.2-litre pie dish. If any liquid has gathered under the fish, add it to the sauce – it’s important not just to put it in the dish as it will make watery patches in the pie.
Spoon the leeks on top. Pour the sauce over and carefully mix it through to combine. Taste for seasoning. Leave this to cool then refrigerate. (A firm base makes it easier to spread the mash on top.)
Cook the potatoes in boiling, lightly salted water until they’re tender, then drain. Put the potatoes back in the saucepan, then cover them with a clean tea towel and a lid. Put them back on a very low heat for a couple of minutes to let them dry out a bit – this gives a better mash.
Heat the milk in a small pan with the saffron until boiling, then leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C/170C fan*/Gas 6.
Mash the potatoes until smooth, adding the butter, the warm saffron milk and some seasoning. Spread over the chilled base and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until golden.
You can make this the day before, cover and keep it in the fridge, then brush the top with melted butter and bake it for 45 minutes.