Fish Pie

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6 to 8 servings Easy
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Ingredients (16)

For the mash:

  • 2 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered if large, halved if small
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, warmed, plus more if needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the filling:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), at room temperature
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 pound hot-smoked salmon, skinned, deboned, and broken up into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 pounds white fish fillets such as halibut or cod, skinned, deboned, and cut into bite-size pieces

Summary

Fish pie is a favorite of home cooks in the UK, where it’s usually made with smoked haddock. We’ve approximated the flavor for American cooks, using hot-smoked salmon and fresh white fish, under a comforting mash of Yukon Gold potatoes, shepherd’s pie–style.

What to buy: In contrast to cold-smoked salmon—the kind you’d drape over a bagel—hot-smoked salmon is firm, a bit dry, and very smoky-tasting. Choose a white fish that’s thick and meaty, so it’ll stand up to baking (halibut and cod are excellent choices). Needless to say, make sure it’s impeccably fresh.

Instructions

To make the mash:
  1. 1Put the potatoes in a saucepan and add cold water to cover by 2 inches. Add the measured salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat to a brisk simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes thoroughly and return to the same pan they cooked in.
  2. 2Add the butter and milk and mash with a potato masher (or use a ricer). Add additional milk to make the mash creamy, but make sure it stays thick. Season to taste with additional salt, if necessary, and black pepper. Cover with the lid and set aside.

To make the filling and bake:

  1. 1Heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the onion and carrot and cook until golden and tender, about 5 minutes.
  2. 2Add the flour and whisk to combine.
  3. 3Slowly add the milk, stirring well as you add it to avoid lumps. Allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes, then add the parsley and chives. Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently stir in the smoked and white fish.
  4. 4Spoon the mixture into a greased 2-quart baking dish.
  5. 5Top with spoonfuls of the reserved mashed potatoes, spreading the mash into an even layer over the fish mixture. Rake the top with the tines of a fork to create a rough texture, and dot with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
  6. 6Bake until bubbly and the top is nice and brown, about 30 minutes.
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