Warming fish pie with chunks of Salmon, Cod and Smoked Haddock in a creamy spinach and cheese sauce topped with crispy cauliflower and mashed potato
Fish pie recipe
So you know it snowed right 🙂 and it snowed and it snowed and it snowed – so I made the best fish pie recipe! A massive dish full of deliciously silky cheese sauce with flaky chunks of smoked fish and vibrant leaves of spinach. As if that wasn’t enough its piled high with healthy cauliflower and mashed potato and baked until golden. Simply wonderful. I just can’t decide if I prefer this, homemade steak and ale pie or minted lamb pies!
Of course a pie recipe isn’t always the best option for fish, so if I’m after something a little lighter I usually opt for my cook from frozen salmon traybake or my one pan, curried kedgeree with poached eggs.
Best fish pie
Thankfully all this snow held off just long enough for Ben and I to enjoy a lovely weekend away in Yorkshire, with plenty of blue skies and spring sunshine. After being well and truly spoilt and then having to return home to the worst snow in several years, a huge bowl of something with mashed potato was definitely on the cards. I definitely needed something nutritious and wholesome but warm and comforting. With a few simple ingredients I created a delicious fish pie sauce and for that touch of indulgence I topped it with creamy mashed potatoes. To make a healthy fish pie, of sorts, I combined the mash topping with florets of cauliflower. A great substitution to boost the flavour and the nutrients and reduce the amount of starchy carbs.
I simply love baked cauliflower and it goes so well with cheese sauce and chunky pieces of smoked fish. I also love roasted cauliflower with my cumin crumbed tuna steak and my roasted cauliflower salad.
Our weekend away took us to a stunning castle hotel in North Yorkshire, where I was definitely inspired by all the home cooked comfort food, its hardly surprising I wanted more of this type of thing when we got home.
We managed to get a great deal on a room in the beautiful Swinton Park hotel. This place is truly magical. From the castle entrance and champagne on arrival, to the massive expanse of picturesque grounds and the state of the art newly built spa . . . you couldn’t ask for any more. And by the way – the spa is truly amazing and its worth the trip just for that alone.
Fish pie ingredients
To make this fish pie recipe you will need a few simple ingredients:
- Semi-skimmed milk
- Plain flour
- Cheddar cheese
- Smoked Haddock
- Spinach leaves
How to make fish pie
The basis of this fish pie is a simple cheese sauce with chunky smoked fish and a mash and cauliflower topping.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
In a large pan cook the onions and garlic in butter until soft.
Add the flour and stir in, the mixture should clump slightly and take on a breadcrumb consistency.
On low-medium heat, gradually add the milk to the onions and flour, stirring continuously until the mixture starts to thicken. See Tip Below.
Take off the heat and stir in the cheese.
Add the chopped fish to the cheese sauce and mix in carefully.
Add the spinach leaves and stir in.
Transfer the fish pie mix to an ovenproof dish. Dot the cauliflower florets on top and add the mash into the gaps. (Or if you have a nozzle and piping bag to hand, pipe swirls of mash in between the florets).
Place in the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Serve with a scattering of freshly chopped parsley leaves.
Tip: Heating too quickly can curdle the mixture. If the mixture starts to curdle remove from the heat momentarily and stir rapidly.
Recipe suggestion: If you’re after an extra indulgent twist, dot the cauliflower and mash with extra butter and grate over extra cheese before baking in the oven.
What goes well with fish pie?
Green vegetables, like green bean almondine, make the perfect accompaniment to this creamy fish pie as the mash topping more than covers you for those comforting carbs. My go to vegetables would be broccoli, green beans or peas. However, if you were to make this fish pie with a pastry topping you could add a side of mashed potato or even honey glazed carrots and parsnips to get your vitamins and minerals in.
Can you reheat cooked fish?
Although the fish pie will never be as good as it is the day you make it fresh, you can safely store and reheat fish. Make sure your fish pie is fully cooled before safely storing in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat it at any time provided you make sure it is piping hot throughout.
Can you freeze leftover fish pie?
If you are looking to make fish pie ahead of time you can freeze it for up to 3 months in a suitable container. To reheat simply remove the fish pie from the freezer and completely defrost before cooking the pie in the oven for 30 minutes at 180 degrees C for best results. You should cover the pie with foil to prevent the top from crisping up too much as you are cooking it a second time. Remove the foil for the last 5 minutes to finish, check the pie is hot throughout and enjoy.
When its cold out, this scrummy fish pie is definitely the dish that will warm you through and leave you ready to face the elements the next day. I also reckon its a pretty good dish for a cosy Saturday night in. Lock out the snow and get this in the oven!! Simple, easy and delightful. The classic dishes are always the best.
For the mash and cauliflower topping
- 300 g Cauliflower Florets
- 400 g potato
- 5 g butter
- Splash of semi-skimmed milk
For the filling
- 20 g butter
- 150 g onion finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 25 g plain flour
- 500 ml semi skimmed milk
- 40 g cheddar cheese grated
- 280 g cod skinless and boneless
- 140 g smoked haddock skinless and boneless
- 140 g salmon skinless and boneless
- 80 g spinach leaves
- fresh parsley to serve
- 2 medium pans
- 1 large pan
- 1 large ovenproof dish
- Piping bag and nozzle for the mash optional
To make the mash and cauliflower topping
- Break up the cauliflower into medium sized florets, place into a pan of boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and then set to one side.
- Next peel the potatoes and roughly chop into chunks, place into a pan of boiling water and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat and drain. Add the butter and milk and use a masher to mash up. Set to one side with the cooked cauliflower
To make the filling
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Place a medium - large pan on the heat and add the butter, onions and garlic. Gently heat and cook until onions are soft. Next add the flour and stir in, the mixture should clump slightly and take on a breadcrumb consistency. Keeping the heat on low-medium, gradually add the milk to the onions and flour, whilst continually stirring. If the mixture starts to to curdle remove from the heat momentarily and stir rapidly. Once all the milk is added continue to stir until the mixture starts to boil and thickens. At this point turn off the heat and stir in the cheese.
- Next prepare the fish by chopping into bite sized chunks. Add the fish to the cheese sauce and mix in carefully. Then add the spinach leaves and stir in. Finally, carefully transfer the fish pie mix to an ovenproof dish. Randomly dot the cauliflower florets on the top and then add the mash in the gaps between the florets. Or if you have a nozzle and piping bag to hand, pipe swirls of mash in between the florets.
- Place in the centre of a preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
- Serve with a scattering of freshly chopped parsley leaves.