Fish Pie


2 fillets of firm white fish (about 600g/1lb 5oz) such as cod or haddock
1 small fillet of undyed smoked haddock (about 175g/6oz)
750ml/1¼ pints milk
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, roughly chopped
1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
1 bay leaf
bunch fresh parsley
a few peppercorns
1kg/2lb 4oz floury potatoes, such as Maris Piper or Desirée
125g/4½oz butter, plus extra to grease the dish and dot on top of the pie
75g/2½oz gluten free/wheat free plain flour
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 handfuls cooked peeled prawns


Place all the fillets of fish in a medium saucepan and add the milk, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf, a couple of stalks of parsley and the peppercorns.

Place the pan over a low heat and let the milk heat up gently. As soon as it comes to a simmer, switch off the heat and cover the pan. The fish will continue cooking in the hot milk.

Meanwhile, peel the potatoes, cut them into even, bite-sized chunks and put them in a large pan with a teaspoon of salt. Cover, bring to the boil and gently cook until they are just tender.

Drain the potatoes and allow them to cool in a colander for a minutes.. Return them to the pan and mash them with 50g/2oz of the butter.

Stand a sieve over a large jug and tip in the fish and milk mixture.

Add 3-4 tablespoons of the fishy milk to the mash and stir it in well. Add some freshly ground black pepper, taste the mash, and add some salt if you think it needs it. Put the mash to one side.

Heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

To make the béchamel sauce, put the remaining 75g/2½oz butter in a pan and melt it over a low to medium heat. Add the gluten free/wheat free flour and stir well with a wooden spoon to make a roux. Cook for two minutes, stirring every few seconds. Then gently whisk in one third of the hot fishy milk. The paste will quickly turn into a very thick sauce. Add another third of the milk, whisking all the time, and then the final third, so you end up with a creamy sauce. Season the béchamel with salt and freshly ground black pepper, turn the heat down to very low, and let the sauce bubble gently for five minutes while you prepare the fish.

Remove the vegetables, herbs and peppercorns from the fish and discard. Carefully pick up a chunk of fish. Peel off any skin and discard, then gently feel the flesh between your fingers for bones. Put the boneless fish on a clean plate.

Turn off the heat under the béchamel and add the fish to the sauce. Add the prawns, then chop the remaining parsley and stir this in too. Taste the sauce once more and add more seasoning, if necessary.

Generously butter a pie dish and pour in the fish and sauce mixture. Spoon over the mash and spread it carefully across the surface of the fish sauce. Dot a little extra butter over the top of the pie.

Put the pie in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the top is starting to brown and the sauce is bubbling up the sides of the mash.

Serve with fresh crisp green vegetables.