Smoked Angelfish Pie
Middle of the week and dinner needn’t be a chore or resorting to pre-packaged or take-away meals. I made these comforting, packed full of flavour individual fish pies late in the evening last week, but we were tucking in with gusto, in no time.
The pies are transformed into something special with the addition of creme fraiche in the sauce and nutmeg, which I think adds its special sweet, musky breath to the dish, taking the flavour barometer up a level. Be sure to be generous with the pinch.
Makes 3 individual pies or 1 medium pie
For the Sauce:
185- 200g smoked angelfish, flaked and checked for bones
2 pinches nutmeg
4 salad onions or 1 spring onion, snipped
salt and pepper to taste
100g creme fraiche
For the mash
430g potatoes, boiled (I microwaved them) and mashed well
1 egg yolk
smoked salt , or ordinary salt (I used Smoking Shed salt)
generous grating of Parmesan cheese
Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
In a small sauce pan, over a low-medium heat, add the butter and the flour, stirring. We’re making a roux, and we want the flour to cook and colour slightly, but not burn. The aroma released is heavenly and transports me to my mother’s busy kitchen over the Diwali festival when lots of pots of ghee (clarified butter) and channa flour were on the go, the smells a warm, nutty butteriness promising treats with exotic names like halwa, burfee and magaj.
Keep stirring the roux and add the milk gradually, beating with a wooden spoon to prevent lumps from forming. Once thick, and ‘spitting’ bubbles (do be careful), add the nutmeg and mix well.
Add the salad onions and remove from the heat. Allow to cool slightly.
Add creme fraiche and mix. Add flaked fish.
Season with a few grindings of smoked salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Add milk and egg yolk to the mash and beat well with a wooden spoon. The egg yolk, I was advised by a talented chef friend, will bind the mixture. I found it added a nice warm colour to the mash too. Season with smoked salt.
Spoon the fish sauce mixture into the pie dish/es and top with mash.
Sprinkle cheese over the top and add a few grindings of smoked salt.
Bake for 15 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius. Turn up the heat to 230 degrees Celsius for a further 10 minutes to brown, but do watch that it does not burn.