September 04, 2006
Weekend Cookbook Challenge- Fish Pie
An unusual blog that I stumbled upon while surfing is the The weekend cookbook challenge.It focusses on a theme every month and then rounds up entries from the varied respondents. When I decided to participate in Weekend cookbook challenge- foreign foods cohosted by Once upon a feast, the dilemma was what to cook. Being in America, the question of what food is foreign to me is not easy to answer. Back in India, anything foreign was broadly called continental and seemed exotic. Something distant we see in pictures like an unknown face. After tasting a variety of cuisines first hand at the multitude of ethnic restaurants here and then trying them out at home, now some of them seem like well known friends.
So I chose to make a traditional English Fish pie. It is the fish version of the shepherd’s pie which is ground lamb covered with mashed potatoes and baked. The first time I came across the recipe was on The Naked Chef's show on Food TV and then tried it at a friend's house. But now to link this common recipe to an actual cook book, a similar recipe is also there in Complete Fish & Game Cookbook by A.D.Livingston, a cookbook from the library. I added scallions and parsley to the recipe. In fact, next time, I would even add a teaspoon of a garam masala , our blend of whole spices, which would really add a richness to the fish filling. Almost any kind of fish can be used for the pie, fresh or canned. I choose Tuna/ Flounder/Tilapia fillets when using fresh fish, or canned tuna when in a hurry.
You will need: For 4 servings
Fish-12 ounce (340gm) or 2 can tuna packed in water
Peas- 1 cup
Onions-1 ½ cup chopped
Green chilies- 6
Scallions-1/4 cup chopped
Pepper- 1 tsp
Ginger -1/2 tsp chopped
Garlic -1/2 tsp chopped
Parsley- 2 tbsp chopped
Oil- 2 tbsp
Salt- to taste.
All purpose flour (Maida) - 1 1/2 tbsp
Butter- 1 tbsp
Olive Oil-1 tbsp
Milk- 1 1/2 cup
Nutmeg- ¼ tsp
Salt to taste
Potato-3 medium size ( ½ lb)Russet
Milk-1/4 cup milk or less.
Salt- to taste
Pepper- 1/2 tsp
1.White sauce: Melt the butter and oil together in a pan. Add the flour and mix. Cook the flour in low heat, till it turns light brown, stirring all the while. This could take upto 10 minutes and needs constant attention to prevent it from burning. When it turns light brown, add half the milk, whisking with the other hand to prevent lumps from forming. No spoon, use only an egg beater or whisk. When all the milk is absorbed, add the rest too, blending gently. Allow it to simmer for a minute and keep aside.
2.Mashed Potatoes: Scrub the potatoes well and cut them in quarters with the skin on. Boil the potatoes with skin, in just enough water to cover all the potatoes. Drain the spuds when it is cooked, and mash it a fork or potato masher. Don’t let it over cook. For a really smooth and lump-free mash, use a potato ricer and stir through the warm milk and butter. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Add the milk slowly and use only enough to make it fluffy.
3.Fish: If using fresh fish fillets, clean and cook fish in a sprinkle of salt without adding oil. Add a tablespoon of water if it is sticking. Stir it in a non stick pan for a 2-3 minutes till it changes color. When cool, flake the fish and keep aside.
4.In a wide non stick pan, heat the oil and sauté the onions. If using tuna packed in oil, drain the oil completely and use no additional oil. Add the onions and fish together. Sauté all the ingredients together for 5-8 minutes or till the onions look transparent. Add the parsley in the end.
5.Layering: Mix the white sauce with the fish filling. Pour 2 beaten egg whites all over the mixture. Coat the baking pan with a thin layer of oil and spread the fish mix evenly. Spread the mashed potato on top evenly. Use an ice cream scoop to make even mounds of the potato.
6.Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and place the baking pan in the middle. Bake for 10-15 minutes. When the potato starts turning golden brown, it is ready. Remove from oven and allow it to cool before serving.