I wouldn’t say that fish is one of my favourite foods exactly, but I do enjoy eating it on occasion because it makes a nice light change from eating meat. I made this fish pie one day when I was feeling cold and as if the winter had considerably overstayed its welcome.
I was born in the North-East of England, an area which celebrates fish and seafood, and as a result it wasn’t unusual for my Granddad to buy me a bag of whelks from Jackie White’s fruit and vegetable market and let me sit on the front doorstep with a darning needle patiently picking each whelk out of its steel-grey shell to be eaten with child-like abandon. Of course, it was only as an adult that I realised that whelks are essentially just the snails of the sea, but it certainly instilled in me a love of seafood.
It was only right then, considering my love of the fruits of the sea, that my fish pie should include mussels alongside fish. I’ll level with you, although I would prefer to fill my pie full of king prawns, scallops and other such riches, I don’t have the monetary riches that would require. However, freshly frozen mussels can be bought nowadays for a song and they’re delicious and very nutritious, so I’m more than happy to use them in my fish pie instead.
I made my fish pie dairy-free with a creamy sauce made from nutritional yeast, but if you’re not dairy-free you can easily make it with a simple white sauce or cheese sauce and just add in the freshly chopped parsley and tarragon, if you fancy.
For all that this recipe is only for a simple fish pie, a meal eaten for centuries by people, it’s worth its weight in ten ‘fancier’ recipes thanks to its tasty, but simple filling of soft, yielding cod and hot little mussels which are enveloped in a rich parsley and tarragon sauce and topped with buttery mashed potato and finished with a crispy cheddar cheese topping.
Ingredients for the mash:
600g potatoes (peeled and cut into small chunks)
2-3 tbsps butter (or non-dairy version)
2-4 tbsps of rice milk
Ingredients for the parsley and tarragon sauce:
1 tbsp butter (or non-dairy version)
1 tbsp gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F flour because it’s made with low FODMAP ingredients whereas many other gluten-free flours are made with high FODMAP options.)
200ml rice milk
60g (4 tbsps) nutritional yeast (nooch)
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp cornflour dissolved into 2 tbsps cold water
Salt and pepper (to taste)
For the fish pie filling and topping:
450g white fish (skin removed and cut into chunks)
100g grated cheddar cheese (or non-dairy version)
Put your potatoes on to boil and once soft, drain and mash with the butter and milk.
To make the parsley and tarragon sauce, put the butter and flour in a saucepan over a medium heat and make a roux by stirring it until it has melted down. Whisk in a little of the rice milk at a time until a smooth sauce is formed. Add the herbs, nutritional yeast and cornflour mixture and stir in. Continue to cook until the sauce is hot and thickened. Taste and season accordingly.
Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Place your fish and mussels into a casserole dish and pour the sauce over it before topping the fish pie with the mashed potato and grated cheese.
Bake in the oven for 30-40 mins until the top is golden brown. Serve.
If you like this try this: