One of my ultimate comfort foods is a hearty, creamy fish pie. Now it never used to be, in fact, the idea of a fish pie made me uncomfortable, and the crazy thing was “I had never even eaten fish pie!” I don’t know what my issue was exactly, but perhaps it was combining the words fish and pie, my brain just couldn’t comprehend it.
But back to the present day, fish pie is one of my favourite dishes and I can not eat it often enough! It is filled with protein, good quality fats, vegetables and one of the most delicious carbohydrates around – potatoes.
I like that it has several types of protein; fish, eggs, cheese and cream, as let's face it, fish can be expensive. At $30/Kg for many common varieties of fish, it is not affordable for many families. By padding it out with eggs and dairy we get all the benefits of this extra protein combined with that of the fish.
Protein is needed for thousands of functions and processes in the body. Each protein is made up of a chain of amino acids and the sequence of amino acids, along with their chemical and physical nature influences the type of protein and what its purpose is. So what are some of the uses of protein in our body?
- Building and repairing body tissue such as cartilage, muscle and blood.
- Keeps skin, hair and nails healthy.
- Foundation for many hormones, immune molecules and enzymes.
- In the form of Haemoglobin, a protein that binds to iron molecules and transports them around the body through blood.
- Required for muscle contractions.
- Needed for balancing water and transportation of nutrients around the body.
350g fish (any fresh fish will do, even a combination such as salmon and white fish)
3 free range eggs
6 medium potatoes
50mL full fat milk or cream
3 cups roughly chopped silverbeet or spinach
2 sticks celery
2 medium carrots
2 medium onions
1 cup grated cheese
250mL cream (or 50mL white wine and 200mL cream)
1 lemon (juice and zest)
2 Tbsp. capers
1 Tbsp. mustard
Preheat the oven to 180˚C and grease a casserole dish (approximately 30cm x 20cm) with olive oil. Peel potatoes and boil, these will be mashed with 25g of butter, 50mL of milk or cream and sea salt and black pepper to taste. In another pot boil eggs until hard boiled (approximately 10 minutes) and steam the greens on top. Once the greens have finished leave to cool before squeezing most of the liquid out. In the greased dish line up the fish fillets to cover as much of the base as possible. Fill the gaps with quarters of the hard boiled eggs and sprinkle the greens over the top. In a saucepan soften the onion, celery and carrot in olive oil for 15 minutes (if using white wine then add this afterwards and simmer for another 10 minutes before adding the cream). Then add the 250mL of cream, lemon juice and zest, mustard and capers. bring to the boil and turn off immediately. Stir in the grated cheese and pour the liquid over the contents of the casserole dish and spoon over the mashed potato. Bake the pie for 25 minutes, the mashed potato will be nice and golden brown and the creamy sauce bubbling away. Even though it is tempting to eat straight away, do let it rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with a fresh green salad or steamed vegetables.