Sunday, March 30, 2014


serves six

450 gram-500 gram haddock fillets
450 gram-500 gram smoked haddock fillets
250ml milk
1 bay leaf
sea salt and black pepper
150 grams unsmoked streaky bacon

60 grams unsalted butter
50 grams plain flour
150ml dry cider
150 grams crème fraîche
150 grams frozen petits pois
200 grams cooked and peeled king prawns
6 tablespoons coarsely chopped 
flat-leaf parsley

1.5kg maincrop potatoes
100 grams crème fraîche
50 grams unsalted butter
2 large egg yolks

Have ready a 35cm oval gratin dish (about 2.5 litre capacity) or other equivalent ovenproof dish that affords a large surface for crisping. Arrange the haddock and smoked haddock fillets over the base of a large pan, cutting them to fit. Pour over the milk, tuck in the bay leaf, season and bring to the boil. Partially cover with a lid and cook on a medium heat for 4 minutes. Strain the cooking liquor into a jug and, once the fish is cool enough to handle, flake it coarsely into a bowl, discarding the skin.

Dice the bacon. Heat a large nonstick frying pan over a medium heat, add the bacon pieces, separating them out, and fry for 5-7 minutes until golden, stirring frequently. Drain on a double thickness of kitchen paper.

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a medium-size nonstick pan over a medium heat, add the flour and allow to seethe for a minute. With the pan off the heat, using a wooden spoon or a mini whisk (the kind for making sauces), very gradually work in the cider, the fish cooking liquor, then the crème fraîche. Return to the hob, bring to the boil, stirring constantly, then simmer over a very low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and if necessary giving a quick whisk until smooth and incorporated. Check the seasoning. Fold in the haddock (discarding any liquid in the bowl), the bacon, peas, prawns and parsley. Transfer to the ovenproof dish, cover with clingfilm and leave to cool.

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes, cut up as necessary and cook in a large pan of salted boiling water until tender. Drain in a colander, leave the steam to evaporate for a minute or two, then pass through a mouli-légumes or a sieve back into the pan. Heat the crème fraîche with the butter and some seasoning and beat this into the mash, followed by the egg yolks. Smooth this over the top of the filling, using a spoon to sculpt the surface into peaks. If not cooking straight away, leave to cool, then cover and chill for up to a day.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400F/200C/180C fan/gas 6. Bake the pie for 35-45 minutes until crusty and nicely golden. Allow a little longer if cooking from chilled.

bacon recipe source: Annie Bell, Daily Mail online, March 5, 2011; Associated Newspapers Limited, Northcliffe House, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT UK

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