This fish pie is perfect for a family celebration, as once all the prep is done you've literally got nothing to do but pop it into the oven. Lots of supermarkets are now selling packets of mixed seafood, which are perfect for using in fish pies. Keep a lookout and if you buy one you want it to be 750g (1lb 10 oz) in weight.

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 large shallots
  • 2 celery sticks
  • 300ml (½ pint) milk
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a few black peppercorns
  • 250g (9oz) salmon fillet, skin on and pin bones removed
  • 250g (9oz) firm white fish fillets (such as cod, haddock or hake), skin on and pin bones removed
  • 200g (7oz) raw peeled king prawns
  • 50g (2oz) butter
  • 200g (7oz) baby spinach
  • 40g (1½oz) plain flour
  • 150ml (¼ pint) cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

For the potato topping

  • 675g (1½lb) Rooster potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 75g (3oz) mature Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 25g (1oz) butter

To serve

  • buttered peas

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).
  2. To make the topping, put the potatoes in a pan of cold salted water. Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 –20 minutes, until tender.
  3. Drain the potatoes and return to the pan over low heat for 2–3 minutes to remove as much moisture as possible. Remove the pan from the heat, then mash with a potato masher until smooth. Beat in the cheese and butter and season to taste.
  4. Meanwhile, place the eggs in a pan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10–12 minutes, until hard-boiled.
  5. Drain under cold running water, then crack against the sink to break the shells. Remove the shells and cut the eggs into quarters.
  6. Roughly chop one of the shallots and one of the celery sticks and place in a wide pan with the milk, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Add the fish fillets, then bring to a simmer and cook for 3 minutes, until the fish is just tender. Stir in the prawns for the last 30 seconds of the cooking time.
  7. Transfer to a plate, then roughly flake, discarding the skin and bones. Strain the milk into a jug, discarding the vegetables, bay leaves, and peppercorns.
  8. Heat a knob of the butter in a pan. Add fistfuls of the spinach, adding another handful as the previous one wilts down. Cook for 1 minute, then tip into a colander to drain.
  9. Add the rest of the butter to the pan. Finely chop the remaining shallot and celery and add to the pan, stirring to coat. Sauté for 3–4 minutes, then add the flour and stir over low heat for 1 minute.
  10. Gradually add the reserved milk, beating until smooth. Simmer for 2–3 minutes, until nicely thickened. Season to taste, then stir in the cream and allow to thicken and reduce down a little before stirring in the parsley.
  11. Layer up the flaked fish, prawns and hard-boiled eggs in an ovenproof dish with small mounds of the spinach and spoonfuls of the sauce. Spread the mashed potatoes on top and bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, until bubbling and golden. 
  12. Serve the fish pie straight to the table with a separate bowl of buttered peas.

Neven's Top Tip

For a change, try adding some smoked fish to this pie, such as smoked haddock or hot smoked salmon. The smoky flavour is a lovely addition and just a small amount of smoked fish will flavour the whole dish – I’d say no more than 100g (4oz) is about right.