Spring fish pie with petits pois a la francaise

Serves 6

Ingredients

For the filling

40g/1 ½ oz butter

225g/ 7 ½ oz (about 1 large) leek, cleaned, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 small onion, halved & studded with 6 cloves

8 peppercorns

600ml/1pt milk

1 tsp English mustard

4 fresh bay leaves

350g/11 ½ oz thick skin-on sustainable haddock fillet

350g/11 ½ oz salmon fillet

150g/5oz cooked prawns or 6 large prawns

45g/1 ¾ oz plain flour

2 tbsp capers, rinsed and chopped

2 tbsp chopped parsley (stalks for poaching )

50g/2oz watercress ( ½ 100g pkt, woody stalks removed and chopped)

50g/2oz grated mature Cheddar

1 x 375g/12oz all butter puff pastry

1 medium free-range egg, beaten, to glaze

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C / Fan 180C / Gas 6. Stud the onion halves with the cloves and put them into a roasting tin with fish, peppercorns, bay leaves and parsley stalks. Bring the milk to the boil in a saucepan, then pour it over the fish, cover the tin and bake in the oven for 12 minutes. (If using raw prawns add to the dish, if using cooked leave out and add later). Remove the foil and transfer the fish to a large plate to cool. Strain the poaching liquid into a jug, discarding the flavouring ingredients.

To make the sauce melt 40g butter in a saucepan and sauté the leek, then stir in the plain flour and cook gently for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the strained milk mixture. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the mustard, capers, watercress, parsley and cheddar, then taste and season with salt and pepper. Cool slightly.

Stir the sauce into the fish mixture and add the cooked prawns, if using, then spoon it into 6 individual pie dishes or a 1.75 litre deep pie dish and chill.

Heat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and cut unto 3 lengthways. Roll out on a lightly floured worktop so each rectangle measures approx 34cmx 7 ½ cm (14in x 3 ½ in).

Now cut a long strip from each side ½ cm wide so you now have 6 long strips. Take your pies and lightly egg wash the tops of the dishes. Place a long piece of pastry on the top of each dish and press down ( this will give the top piece something to stick to). Egg wash the top of the pastry strips.

Now take a lattice cutter and firmly roll over your remaining pastry rectangles, lengthways. Cut each one in half across the centre and then shake out the lattice. Place the lattice across the top of each pie, pressing down to seal well and then trim off any excess pastry with scisssors.

Brush the top of the pies all over with beaten egg, then bake for 30-35 minutes, covering loosely with a sheet of foil if it’s browning a bit too quickly, until the filling is bubbling hot and the pastry is an even golden brown.

 

Note: As a short cut method for the pastry tops, just cook individual rounds of pastry ( latticed or not) on a baking tray covered with baking parchment. Cover the fish pots with foil and then bake all together for 30-35 mins and just pop a cooked lid on to serve.

 

To get ahead; the fish pies can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated.

 

To Freeze; the pies will freeze for up to 1 month, defrost thoroughly before cooking.

 

Petits Pois a la Francaise

 

Ingredients

300g /10 ½ oz petits pois, defrosted if frozen

1 large onion, finely sliced

1 small lettuce, shredded (such as little gem)

30g /1oz butter

Few sprigs of fresh mint

Few sprigs fresh parsley

1 small clove of garlic, bruised

1 tsp caster sugar

Salt & pepper

 

Method

Mix the peas and onion together in a saucepan. Add 150ml / ¼ pint water, butter, herbs, garlic and sugar. Season and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook for 10-15 minutes over a low setting until the peas are soft. Remove the garlic and the sprigs of mint and parsley and then stir through the shredded lettuce. Let it wilt for 2-3 minutes then serve. Check seasoning before serving

 

To get ahead: This dish can be made up to a day ahead without the lettuce. Reheat and then stir through the lettuce.

 

To freeze: Not suitable

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