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Fish Pie

Cherished by the British as ‘nursery food,’ fish pie can also be quite sophisticated and yet still, oh-so comforting!  This recipe is a combination of several published over the years by GoodFood Magazine — we have simply taken the bits we like best from each and come up with our own favorite version. We have even streamlined the process so that you only have to use one big pot (less washing up is good!). We use cod, shrimp, and scallops, but so many types of seafood work in this versatile dish. Typically, fish pie harbors boiled eggs, but since our husbands have an unexplainable aversion to said, we have omitted them. Be sure to cook your fish pie with a baking sheet beneath because it has a tendency to bubble over with glee. We promise that you, as well, will be bubbling over with glee upon your first mouthful!

Fish Pie

1 tbs. butter
1 medium onion, diced
14 oz. milk (whole, reduced fat, or skim)
1 lb. firm white fish
½ lb. uncooked shrimp, peeled and de-veined
½ lb. scallops, muscle removed and cut if large
2 oz. butter (4 tbs.)
2 tbs. all-purpose flour
4 oz. dry white wine or vermouth
1 cup frozen peas
2 tbs. chopped fresh parsley
1 tbs. lemon juice
2 lbs. Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 oz. butter (4 tbs.)
4 tbs. milk
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot, melt the 1 tbs. of butter and gently cook the onions until softened, then remove to a plate. Add the milk to the pot and heat slightly. Add the fish, shrimp, scallops, and some seasoning, and simmer for 5 minutes until the fish is just firm. Remove to the plate with the onions, reserving the milk in a jug or spouted measuring cup.

Melt the 4 tbs. of butter in the same pot over medium-low heat. Stir in the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Gradually add the reserved milk, then the wine, to make a smooth sauce. Reduce the heat and simmer 5-6 minutes, stirring often, until it has thickened a bit. Add the peas, parsley, and lemon juice, then gently fold in the onions and seafood, trying to keep the whitefish is fairly large pieces. Check the seasoning. Spoon everything into a buttered 2 quart (8 cup) baking dish.

Fill the pot with hot water, bring to a boil, add some salt, and cook the potatoes until tender. Mash with the remaining butter, milk, and a little salt and pepper. Spread the mashed potatoes on top of the fish and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 400°F for 35-40 minutes, or until the potatoes are golden and the filling in bubbly. Let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

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