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    Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Fish Pie or as A Canadian Calls It - Fisherman's Pie - Comfort Food

    It's only a month since we were sitting on the boat in a beautiful bay.
    In fact probably 6 weeks since our friend Pete drove up to have a weekend with us.
    He will wish he was back there as well, now the weather is cooling down. Swimming and lying in the sun. Heaven.
    Below Pete having his constitutional swim. Getting ready for a day of feasting and imbibing.
    Anyway Pete is justifiably very proud of his Fish Pie and he went to the trouble to prepare one and bring it up for us to devour. There was enough leftover to freeze little packages for Dale when he was on his own.
    All golden and crispy on the top
    Full of fish and prawns in a wonderful creamy sauce inside.
    So Pete, it was excellent but I now have another version.
    Don't be put off by the many steps. You can do this ahead of time.
    I reckon you could serve it for a dinner party.
    You could individual portions
    Very elegant.

    There is a programme on Food TV called "Everyday Exotic", starring Canadian Roger Mooking.
    I don't think Fish Pie is a staple part of the North American diet... as it is for those of us recently descended from British Stock.
    He called his version Fisherman's Pie (Shepherd's Pie etc)
    It looked tasty so I decided to give it a go.
    It relied on making a fish stock.
    That is not hard and is a great use of the fish head and bones
    Just takes a little bit of time.
    You make a stock which turns into the sauce.
    Saute some vege
    Mash some potatoes
    Assemble and Bob's your Uncle.

    Choose your whole fish
    Get the Fishmonger to filet and skin it for you and pop the bones in a bag

    For 4 people
    Whole fish filleted and skinned with bones for the stock
    You need 200 gms per person
    4 prawns per person

    For The Stock
    Fish Bones
    1/2 bulb Fennel
    1 stalk Celery
    1 Onion Peeled
    Bay leaves 3
    Black peppercorns
    1 cup of white Wine

    Chop up the vegetables roughly
    Add everything to a large stock pot
    Add wine and enough water to cover everything
    Add salt about 1 teaspoon
    Bring to the boil and simmer about 20 minutes
    Don't cook to long it can become bitter
    Strain immediately and return to pot.
    Bring back to boil
    Cook about 10 minutes to reduce the stock for the maximum flavour
    Taste and season with extra salt and pepper if needed
    Reserve to make the sauce

    Meanwhile prepare The Vegetables
    The hot fish stock gives lots of flavour to the vegetables

    1 Carrot chopped small cubes
    White part of 1 Leek sliced finely
    1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter
    1 cup frozen peas
    1/2 cup reserved stock
    Sea Salt and freshly Ground Black pepper

    Gently sauté carrot and leek in oil and butter
    Till they soften
    Season with S & P
    Add hot stock
    Cook about 5 minutes
    Add peas
    Simmer till stock absorbed

    Set aside

    The Sauce
    Remainder of the stock
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 tablespoons plain flour
    1/4 cup cream
    4 sprigs fresh Tarragon

    Mix butter and flour together
    This is your thickening agent
    The French call it Beurre Manier

    Bring the sauce to the boil
    Add the Beurre Manier
    and stir well till it thickens
    Use a whisk so it doesn't get lumpy
    Add tarragon and cream
    Set aside

    Now The Potato Topping

    3 large peeled potatoes
    100 mls milk
    2 tablespoons butter
    2 egg yolks

    The best result for mashed potatoes is using a ricer
    It gets rid of all the lumps but use a potato masher or fork if you wish

    Cut the potatoes into large chunks
    Cover with cold water
    Add salt
    Bring to boil and simmer till they are tender
    Drain in a colander and return to the pot
    Mash them
    Heat the milk and butter together and add to the potatoes
    Beat all together for a really good result
    Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary

    Now for the assembly
    A light layer of the sauce over the bottom of your gratin dish
    Place fish and prawns on top
    Season with salt and pepper
    Add vegetables
    Cover with sauce and then the mashed potatoes
    Smooth the potatoes over the top
    Into 190C oven for about 25 minutes till golden brown and bubbling
    Don't eat too quickly, you will burn the roof of your mouth
    Take this from one greedy person who knows!!!
    This is a fish pie worth making for guests. Dont be selfish and keep it for yourself. You may be inclined to. I made two and have stuck one in the freezer for another day.
    Dale waving me goodbye, as he is about to take off for his journey, sailing home.
    Au'voir Cajun Moon
    I drove home in 4 hours
    He took 3 leisurely days, working his way through his little Freezer Packages.
    I know he wishes he was still up there in Paradise.

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