Fish pie

Fish pie

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
1/4 onion
300ml milk
4 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
600g haddock, whiting or cod fillet, or a mixture
1/4 bunch parsley
3 eggs, hard-boiled
25g butter
25g plain flour
2 tablespoons double cream
1 quantity Mashed potatoes
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Slice the onion. Put the milk, onion, peppercorns, bay leaf and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan and heat until steaming. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse and cool.
  3. Lay the fish fillet in a small roasting tin, skin side down. Strain the infused milk, discarding the flavourings, and pour the cooled milk over the fish. Place a damp cartouche over the surface.
  4. Place the roasting tin over a low heat. As soon as the milk begins to poach (when a bubble or two breaks the surface), remove from the heat. Leave to cool (the fish will continue to cook in the residual heat of the milk). Check that the fish is cooked: it should be opaque, feel firm and begin to flake when pressed.
  5. Remove the cartouche and transfer the fish to a bowl. Pull off the skin and discard. Carefully feel for and remove any bones, taking care not to break the fish up, keeping it in large pieces. Put the cartouche back over the fish to prevent it from drying out.
  6. Strain the milk, taste and set aside. If it is very strongly flavoured, dilute with a little fresh milk, but you will need to discard some of it as you will only need 300 ml. Leave to cool completely.
  7. Finely chop enough parsley leaves to give you ½ tablespoon. Peel the hard-boiled eggs and quarter lengthways.
  8. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and begin to add the 300 ml reserved milk, a little at a time, stirring to avoid lumps. When at least half the milk has been added, return the pan to the heat, add the remaining milk and bring to the boil, stirring. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in the cream and parsley, taste and season.
  9. Pour the sauce over the fish in the bowl and gently combine until the fish is coated evenly. Pile the fish mixture into a pie dish, adding the eggs in as you do so (don’t stir them in or they will break up).
  10. Spread a layer of mash over the fish, starting from the edges and working towards the centre, and neaten the top with a palette knife. Alternatively, pipe the mash onto the fish in a diagonal pattern. Place the pie on a baking sheet and transfer to the oven for 35–40 minutes until the filling is hot. You can place briefly under a hot grill to give it a little colour if you prefer a crispy top.


  • Fish and spinach pie: Omit the eggs and parsley. Add 150 g wilted spinach, seasoned with salt, pepper and grated nutmeg, to the fish before pouring over the sauce.

    Salmon and prawn pie: Replace the parsley with 1 tablespoon finely chopped dill or chives. Replace the white fish with 400 g salmon and 400 g peeled, cleaned raw tiger prawns.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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