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Nursery Fish Pie

by . Featured in FEAST
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Introduction

There are certain days when only something soothing and comforting and topped with mash potato will do; on such days, this pie could make you weep with gratitude.

There are certain days when only something soothing and comforting and topped with mash potato will do; on such days, this pie could make you weep with gratitude.

Nursery Fish Pie
Photo by James Merrell

Ingredients

Serves: 8

Metric Cups
  • 1½ kilograms floury potatoes
  • 150 grams butter
  • 750 grams haddock
  • 1 kilogram smoked haddock
  • 500 millilitres full fat milk
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon white peppercorns
  • 125 grams frozen peas
  • 75 grams plain flour
  • 125 grams cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 3 large hard-boiled eggs
  • 3 pounds mealy potatoes
  • 1½ sticks butter
  • 1½ pounds haddock
  • 2¼ pounds smoked haddock
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon white peppercorns
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups cheddar cheese (grated)
  • 3 large hard-boiled eggs

Method

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them in half or quarters, depending on size, and put them in a pan of salted water to cook from cold. When they're tender, drain and then mash them with 75g / ¾ stick of the butter, seasoning to taste.
  2. Put the fish into a large frying pan with the milk, bay leaves and peppercorns. Bring the milk in the pan to a boil, then immediately turn down and simmer the fish until it is just cooked through. Remove the fish to a plate and pour the cooking liquid into a jug, straining out the bay leaves and peppercorns.
  3. Meanwhile, put the frozen peas in a bowl, pour over some boiling water and preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190°C/375ºF, slipping in a baking sheet as you do so.
  4. Melt the remaining 75g / ¾ stick of butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour to make a roux.
  5. Take this off the heat briefly, just while you gradually whisk in the fishy milk, then put back over a medium heat and keep stirring until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Let it bubble away for a couple of minutes and then take off the heat and stir in most of the cheese (leaving some to sprinkle over the top of the pie later) and the drained peas.
  6. Flake the fish, making sure not to let it disintegrate too much, and use it to line a 3-litre / 12-cup ovenproof dish and pour the sauce over, using a rubber spatula to help you distribute it equally and meld it with the fish. Cut the hard-boiled eggs into slices and arrange the golden-centred discs over the top of the fish in sauce. Top with the mashed potato, using a spatula, again, to help you coax it right over the sides. With a fork, scrape lines up and down the length of the dish and then sprinkle with a little grated Cheddar before putting it on the sheet in the oven for 20-40 minutes, depending on whether you're putting the pie in hot or cold.
  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them in half or quarters, depending on size, and put them in a pan of salted water to cook from cold. When they're tender, drain and then mash them with 75g / ¾ stick of the butter, seasoning to taste.
  2. Put the fish into a large frying pan with the milk, bay leaves and peppercorns. Bring the milk in the pan to a boil, then immediately turn down and simmer the fish until it is just cooked through. Remove the fish to a plate and pour the cooking liquid into a jug, straining out the bay leaves and peppercorns.
  3. Meanwhile, put the frozen peas in a bowl, pour over some boiling water and preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190°C/375ºF, slipping in a baking sheet as you do so.
  4. Melt the remaining 75g / ¾ stick of butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour to make a roux.
  5. Take this off the heat briefly, just while you gradually whisk in the fishy milk, then put back over a medium heat and keep stirring until the sauce comes to a boil and thickens. Let it bubble away for a couple of minutes and then take off the heat and stir in most of the cheese (leaving some to sprinkle over the top of the pie later) and the drained peas.
  6. Flake the fish, making sure not to let it disintegrate too much, and use it to line a 3-litre / 12-cup ovenproof dish and pour the sauce over, using a rubber spatula to help you distribute it equally and meld it with the fish. Cut the hard-boiled eggs into slices and arrange the golden-centred discs over the top of the fish in sauce. Top with the mashed potato, using a spatula, again, to help you coax it right over the sides. With a fork, scrape lines up and down the length of the dish and then sprinkle with a little grated Cheddar before putting it on the sheet in the oven for 20-40 minutes, depending on whether you're putting the pie in hot or cold.

Additional Information

You can assemble the pie in advance and reheat when you want, but in that case it is important that the fish and sauce should be cold before they are combined, and put to one side. As long as the fish is fresh, you could do this a day in advance. I wouldn't spatch the potatoes on until I was putting it in the oven, even if I had cooked and mashed them in advance, too.

You can assemble the pie in advance and reheat when you want, but in that case it is important that the fish and sauce should be cold before they are combined, and put to one side. As long as the fish is fresh, you could do this a day in advance. I wouldn't spatch the potatoes on until I was putting it in the oven, even if I had cooked and mashed them in advance, too.

Tell us what you think

What 6 Others have said

  • This is how I make fish pie but I add cauliflower and broccoli (cooked). I use Chinese foil dishes , make a large batch and freeze.

    Posted by Jaclen on 18th September 2015
  • This turned out great! I added a few capers as well as some leeks and kale, (for an all in one meal) I also added a tablespoon of mayo to the sauce, the results were superb!

    Posted by Ben* on 10th June 2015
  • I'm not big on fish and I'm not big on cooking :) but made this for a mid-week dinner last night. I didn't have the bay leaf so I left it out and I didn't have full-fat milk to so I used 50/50 semi-skimmed/double cream (it was going out of date so good excuse to use it up) I also didn't bother about exact measurements of fish - I had a pre-packed fresh Fish Pie Mix so just popped that in It was the nicest Fish Pie I've ever eaten! Will definitely be making this again (and again).

    Posted by SuzeK on 29th January 2015
  • Lovely, simple and delicious!!! Never fails!

    Posted by MissKostadinov on 9th November 2014
  • Love it. I have cooked it many times for friends, all raved. Thank you.

    Posted by Sanden on 8th August 2014
  • This fish pie is one of the best things culinary things that's happened to me recently! Just the thing for after a long day at work with one too many crises: easy to prepare and just so comforting and gratifying. Thanks, Nigella.

    Posted by HCH on 17th January 2013
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