This is one of my favourite fish dishes and in this instance im using the fillets from a wonderfully fresh 5lb Codling.
This will feed a family of four and you can tweak the ingredients to suit your tastes – it works equally well with Pollock, Pout, Whiting and almost all firm white fish.
To start put a pan each of potatoes and carrots on the hob.
Next sweat down a large onion, a finely cut leek and some sliced mushrooms with a knob of butter and a dash of olive oil. Add a grind of black pepper and a few shakes of paprika, coriander and ginger (you can use flavourings of your choice, nutmeg, garlic, herbs etc but you only want a dash of each to enhance rather then overpower the dish)
As the milk starts to simmer add the skinless/boneless fish pieces - keep them fairly large, 1″ square at least as you want them to stay together.
As soon as the milk starts to heat up again the fish will turn opaque, remove it and set to one side and take the milk off the heat.
Melt 70g of butter in a pan and add in 25g of plain flour. Stir together for a few minutes on a low heat until the flour is cooked out, it will brown slightly but should not burn. Slowly add the strained milk the fish was poached in, a little at a time, to finish add half a cup of good chicken stock stirring continuously.
Don’t worry if it appears lumpy to start with, keep stirring and it will come together and thicken to a good sauce consistency – you can pass it through a sieve if need be.
Place the leek, onion, mushroom and carrots in an oven dish and add the fish pieces
pour over the white sauce
Drain and mash the potato with a knob of butter and a tablespoon of cream cheese, season, then top off the pie and place in a pre warmed oven untill heated through and the top has browned nicely.
Serve with garden peas and a glass of wine.
By Wayne Comben