Comforting fish pie with Burford Browns
Fish pie is a great all rounder for any time of year and is balanced enough to be served up on its own without sides. Mix up the types of fish from cod, smoked mackerel, frozen squid or scallops. You could also add sweet potato or parsnip to the topping along with a little potato.
Pre-heat the oven to 200c/400f/gas mark 6.
Place the milk in a saucepan with the bay leaves, peppercorns, onion, a few gratings of nutmeg and parsley stalks. Place on a low heat and simmer for 5 minutes without boiling the milk then add the smoked haddock and simmer for a further 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the fish with a slotted spoon and place on a plate. Whilst the fish is still warm remove the skin.
Place the cherry tomatoes in a baking dish, drizzle with a teaspoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and toss together. Put the tray of tomatoes in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft and starting to pop.
Peel and coarsely grate the potatoes, place in a colander and season with a teaspoon of salt. Toss together and squeeze out the water from the potatoes. Repeat with another teaspoon of salt, place the potato in a clean tea towel and squeeze out the remaining moisture.
Place the butter and flour in a medium sized saucepan on a low heat. Stir together until the butter has melted, bubbling and all looking golden. Strain the milk into the pan through a sieve. Keep stirring on a low heat with a spoon and then mix with a whisk until smooth and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, add a splash of Vermouth if using. Stir in the cheese, whisk in the egg yolks, season to taste and place to one side.
Place a medium sized frying pan on a medium heat. Add the spinach and a splash of water. Stir and allow the spinach to wilt. Turn off the heat, spoon in to the tea towel used for the potato and squeeze out the excess water. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg, then chop.
Take a 20cm x 30cm baking dish and lightly grease the inside with softened butter. Stir the spinach into the sauce. Gently fold the fish, prawns, peas, chives and parsley in to the sauce too. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish and top with halved soft boiled eggs. Push them down into the sauce a little.
Toss the grated potato in a little olive oil and arrange the rosti on top. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until bubbling and the top is crisp and golden. Serve with stir fried savoy cabbage or watercress.
4 Clarence Court Burford Brown eggs (2 soft boiled and peeled and 2 yolks)
500ml whole milk
3 fresh bay leaves
6 whole black peppercorns
½ onion, peeled
1 whole nutmeg
10g fresh flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
250g smoked haddock
150g cherry tomatoes
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons plain flour
50g butter plus extra for greasing
3 large floury potatoes, peeled
A good splash Vermouth (optional)
50g fresh leaf spinach
50g frozen peas
10g fresh chives, chopped
70g grated cheddar cheese
250g salmon fillet, skinned, pin boned and cut into chunks
100g peeled, raw prawns