This recipe featured on Martin Shanahan's programme "Martin's still mad about fish" which was aired on Irish television in spring and early summer 2011. We want to thank him for providing all these lovely recipes and for promoting the use of fish in the Irish cuisine.
For 6 - 8 people as a main course or 12 -14 as a starter
900g of fish – a mixture of white fish like cod, hake, etc
175 to 225g smoked haddock and Burren Hot Smoked Irish Salmon
(don’t use too much smoked fish as it may overwhelm the other flavours)
2 medium leeks
900ml full fat milk or fish stock if preferred
1 bay leaf
pinch of thyme
salt & pepper
Tip: For a richer pie add 2oz (50g) grated cheddar cheese to the sauce.
Steam or boil the potatoes in their jackets. Peel and mash them.
At the same time, boil 300ml of the milk with 50g of the butter in it until the butter is melted. Immediately mix the mashed potatoes with the buttery milk.
If you want to pipe some of the potato the mash will need to be quite soft.
Season to taste.
Wash the leeks making sure no grit remains. Dry them.
Slice thinly into rings using the white and light green parts.
Melt 25g of the butter and sauté the leeks until soft. Don’t allow them to brown.
Heat the remaining 600ml of milk in a wide saucepan with sliced carrot, onion, herbs and peppercorns.
Bring to boil and simmer for about 5 minutes, remove from heat and let flavours infuse in the milk for about 10 minutes.
Strain and keep the flavoured milk for cooking fish.
If you are using a stock cube dissolve it in the milk instead.
If you wish you can buy the fish ready cut into cubes from the fishmonger. Just make sure there is a nice mix of fish and not too much smoked fish.
If you prefer to buy whole pieces of fish according to your taste then skin the fish, remove bones and cut into desired portion size.
Put the fish in a wide pan or saucepan, cover with the already strained milk/stock and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer with lid on for about 5 minutes depending on size of fish pieces.
Be careful not to overcook or break up the fish too much.
Mix in the cooked leeks gently.
Add the cooked shellfish if using.
You can make one large pie or 3- 4 smaller ones, or individual starter servings.
In each case lightly grease the dishes you will cook the pie in.
With a slotted spoon carefully remove the fish from the milk, and divide evenly among the dishes.
Keep the milk to one side.
To make the sauce, melt 25g butter in saucepan and blend in 25g flour, add the milk in which the fish was cooked, whisking to avoid lumps. Cook for a few minutes.
If using cheese add at this stage, stir in to melt.
Pour the sauce over the fish in the dishes and top with the mashed potato, using a fork or a piping bag.
Heat oven to 375°F / 180°C / Gas mark 4.
Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
Tip: You can prepare the pie and refrigerate to cook later in which case it would take about 20-40 minutes to heat through fully.