A Fishy on a Little Dishy!

The dreaded fish pie! For someone (such as myself), who finds mashed potato to be vile vile and vile, walking in the door after school and seeing it was going to be that for dinner was always a huge disappointment, because as well as always hating mashed potato, I have always been a greedy little pig, my grandfather would regularly exclaim that “the girl's got hollow legs”. It was of course generally accepted that fish pie night was to be endured, white fish poached in milk and then slathered with a if you were lucky cheese sauce, if not a white 'bechamel!' sauce with a few herbs, and then topped with the dreaded mash and baked in the oven.

My tastes have since then matured, somewhat, and I love fish, in fact I think its safe to say I am more a fish than a meat kinda girl.

However my tastes have not matured enough so that the dreaded mashed potato ever makes it way on my plate.

So a fish pie YES – one with mashed potato – NO.

This has been a fun few weeks! There is little doubt that your kitchen pongs a bit after cooking fish on the top of the stove, but the results have been universally successful!

Here are the recipes I found, and tested. Of course online and with no extra cost to my purse.  


Quick Prawn and Salmon Pie found on deliciousmagazine.co.uk

This website is a new find for me, and I love love this pie, i have put it at the top because its most definitely, my favourite of the bunch. It is easy to make, and has that wonderful quality of being easy enough to be make so you can enjoy it everyday, but look good and be a bit special enough that should you have guests you would not feel terribly shabby serving this up. Made with filo pastry, the pie topping is fabulously light and crispy and because the recipe uses smoked salmon trimmings, it really isn't that expensive to make.  I am not a huge fan of large prawns (its a texture thing), and so I used small frozen ones when I made this, which again keeps the price down!  The rest of the ingredient list is fairly easy to come by and wont break the bank.  The only  ingredient needing a little care is the filo pastry, which if you haven't used before, can sometimes prove to be a little on the tricky side.  I always work quickly with it, and am generous with the butter in the layers. 

Tasty, and without a mashed potato in sight – I love this pie!

Flaky Fish Pie from Delia Online

Delia never fails to come up with the goods, and this fish pie ticks all of the boxes, including making your own pastry -which is never as hard as everyone thinks it is going to be (you could of course just buy your own, if you are pushed for time).  The great thing about white fish pie recipes, is that you can use whatever fish you wish, Delia suggests Cod, Haddock or Whiting, but I would add Coley to that list as often being cheaper than the others, and perfectly well suited.  The inclusion of capers and eggs make this pie less of the creamy affair you would normally expect and in fact the whole pie is more of a solid structure than most, and served with some very buttery new potatoes and a salad is a delicious meal.  To be honest it is a bit of a phaff to make, and so I would advise it be a project for an afternoon when you have a little time.  What I love is that you don't use a pie dish, but instead pop the pie mix into the middle of a square of pastry, add another on top and pinch it closed.  This means that the pie case has no chance to be soggy, and is crispy and golden all over.  

A little different, tastes great, is absolutely perfect picnic food and is 'fun' to make. 


Gordon Ramsey's Fish Pie with Vermouth Velouté on BBC Good Food

This is most definitely a special occasion dish, and even then, I couldn't bring myself to buy a bottle of vermouth knowing it wouldn't get drunk or used again after making this pie, so I substituted the vermouth by using double the amount of   dry white wine, and so my fish pie was with a white wine velouté ! But, nonetheless, I followed everything else to the letter, and this pie is bloody gorgeous, and will incite a WOW from any guests you are serving it to.  Gordon very sensibly calls for bought puff pastry (use one made with butter), so its actually a sinch to make!  The recipe uses salmon, white fish and scallops, the salmon and the scallops are of course going to be a little on the pricey side, but you can use whatever white fish is the best value at the time.  

A special fish pie, will test your cooking skills just a little, and tastes delightful! 

Puff Pastry Salmon Lattice 

………and finally, this is based on the one and only useful recipe I learned at School during my Home Economics classes, that one had white fish and not much else, so have added to it over the years!

  • 280 to e.g. skinless salmon fillets
  • 1 packet readymade puff pastry
  • 2 leeks – cleaned and sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ pint milk (semi-skimmed or whole) plus a little extra for brushing over the pastry
  • 1 heaped dessertspoon plain flour
  • a good handful chopped fresh parsley


Trim the salmon fillets removing the thin edges so you the fillets are a uniform size. Chop the trimmings in small pieces.

In a small pan, add the butter and heat until melted, add in one dessertspoon of plain flour and stir vigorously over the heat (NOTE – this is not an exact science, as a rule you need enough flour to create a ball of floury butter – too little and it wont thicken enough – too much you will have a floury taste – so add a little more flour at a time if necessary).

Once the flour and butter are combined, cook over a medium heat for about a minute, remove from the heat.

Using a wooden spoon to stir vigorously, add the milk, starting with a splash at a time, each time stirring well until the milk is absorbed, as the mixture gets looser, start to add more milk at a time, until you have added all of the milk and you have a smooth mixture (NOTE– do this all off of the heat).

Swap the wooden spoon for a balloon whisk and return to the heat, again on a medium heat, give your arm a good workout, heat the sauce stirring continuously – as the sauce thickens (and it will) try not to let it boil, turn the heat down and if necessary or remove for 30 seconds – keep heating and stirring until the sauce thickens – add the chopped parsley, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add a little butter to a frying pan, add the sliced leeks and cook gently until softened. Add the leeks and the salmon trimmings to the white sauce, stir to combine, set aside to cool slightly.

On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry – as a rule of thumb, the pastry should be three times the width of the salmon fillets. Before assembling, it helps to move the pastry to a greased baking tray, as doing it once assembled can be tricky. Lay the fillets down the middle of the pastry, leaving about 4 cm at the top and the bottom, spoon over the slightly cooled sauce, take a knife and cut down each side of the pastry to create 1 1/5 cm strips, brush milk over the strips.

Carefully fold over the top of the pastry, and the lay the strips carefully over, one by one to create a lattice. At the bottom fold the pastry again in and trim the bottom of the strips, to create a neat lattice. Brush the whole lattice over with milk.

Place in a hot oven for about 20 to 25 minutes – until the salmon is cooked and the pastry golden and flaky.  You can use white fish. add prawns or smoked salmon, and serve hot or cold.  

Its one of my favourite summer dishes, one I have been making for a good twenty years now (god I am old!). 


Fish can be enjoyed without an obligatory layer of mashed potato!!!