There are lots of great things about being an island; rugged coastline, lots of cool lighthouses, outlying island gems, mythical tales about heroes challenging giants – well, you get the picture.
But surely one of the best – you might say tastiest – things is being able to tuck into a lot of very delicious, very fresh seafood. And with that thought, I had a sudden craving for a good old-fashioned fish pie. So I tracked down Liz Moore, head chef at the Belle Isle Cookery School in County Fermanagh, and all round miracle maker, for the recipe of this scrumptious dish.
Now, you know they say that the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well I reckon if I turned (and set) the tables this year and served this up for a romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day, she would be mightily impressed.
So from the sumptuous surrounds of the Belle Isle Castle Estate – I offer you the recipe for love, and Irish Fish Pie!
Fish Pie from the Belle Isle School of Cookery
Serves 5-6 Preparation time 20 minutes Cooking time 30-35 minutes
1kg/2¼ lb floury potatoes
225g/8oz salmon fillets
225g/8oz smoked fish, cod/haddock/coley
150g/5oz cooked king prawns
600ml/1 pint full fat milk (plus extra milk for mashed potatoes)
2 bay leaves
50g/2oz plain flour
½ glass white wine
450g/1lb fresh spinach
Salt and freshly milled black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp flat leaved parsley/basil, finely chopped
Preheat oven 160C/325F/Gas 3.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into quarters and boil in salted water until tender.
- Remove the sinew from the monkfish, if using, then place all of the fish in a roasting tin with the milk, bay leaf and peppercorns, and put into the oven.
- Cook for the fish for 10 minutes, then leave to cool.
- Sieve the milk from the fish, reserving it for the sauce.
- In a new pan melt ½ the butter and then stir in the flour.
- Add the wine and then pour in the milk from the fish little by little, whisking as you go and making sure there are no lumps.
- Add the rest of the milk.
- Add the spinach a handful at a time until the volume goes down- it doesn’t take long to cook.
- Add salt and pepper to taste and then add the lemon juice and zest. Stir in some nutmeg.
- Remove all the bones from the fish and separate into small pieces
- Gently mix the fish with the prawns into the sauce.
- Taste and add more lemon juice as necessary.
- Pour into an ovenproof dish.
- Mash the potatoes very well, add the rest of the butter and add some milk.
- Stir in the parsley/basil and arrange neatly on top of the fish.
- Cook in a preheated oven (180C/350F/Gas 4) for 30-35 minutes.
Serve with a fresh green salad, lemon vinaigrette and a kiss!
Followed by a main course of traditional Irish Stew recipe. We’ve got posts for that!
It’s no secret we like our cooking here in Ireland and we’ve got the food to prove it!