With it being halfway through the last month of winter, I looked back at the things I’ve made over this winter season and was in disbelief that I have not made some form of pie. Pie, like lasagne, is a winter essential and after a brief discussion with Viv at work about her recent attempts at making a seafood pie, I decided that it would be my next challenge.
I have only had a seafood pie out on two occasions in my life – my first incident, where my seafood pie ‘virginity’ was lost (in the most glorious way imaginable) at the Reel Cafe when it used to be in Roseville (it has now re-located further north to Wahroonga). I remember being quite confronted about the idea of seafood in a pie, as I’m used to having fresh seafood dressed with very little or made into simple things (ie battered fish fillets) and the concept of stewing fish was an interesting one. That had to be possibly one of my most nostalgic dining experiences, with the memory of peeling that flaky, buttery puff pastry off the edges of the ramekin and dipping my fork beneath to unearth fat chunks of salmon, white fish and potato smothered in a deliciously cheesy sauce.
My second seafood pie experience was less than impressive at Garfish’s Crows Nest Restaurant. A cold, watery pie filling underneath the puff pastry, and a few terribly overcooked stems of asparagus lying along the bottom of the very deep bowl.
With only two experiences to draw from, I consulted a few recipes online and settled on this seafood pie recipe from taste.com (direct link to it here). While I do have puff pastry in the freezer, I love my new potato ricer gadget and wanted to try my hand at mash again, so this is a seafood/Shepherd’s pie.
As usual, I have made a few adaptions to it based on what I already have in my fridge/freezer (as well as the fact that the dratted possum has demolished all of my dill in the herb garden) and keeping in mind serving portion size. The amounts that I have given below will make 4 x 250ml sized ramekins of delicious seafood pies.
WARNING: These pies take a ridiculously long time to make if you haven’t prepped anything in advance (ie the prawns), but the results are well worth it.
For the pie filling, you will need:
- 50g butter;
- 1/2 small brown onion, chopped finely;
- 150g Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced;
- 1/2 bunch asparagus, trimmed, cut into 2.5 cm pieces;
- 1 t olive oil;
- 300g green prawns, peeled, de-veined.
- 200g firm white fish fillet (such as ling or perch – I used ling), cut into 2 cm pieces;
- 4 T chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley;
- 25g plain flour;
- 65ml dry white wine;
- 250ml warm milk;
- 1/2 t Dijon mustard;
- 40g grated vintage cheddar.
For the potato topping, you will need:
- 1/2 kilo brushed potatoes (Sebago), peeled and cut into 4 cm pieces;
- 10g butter;
- 1/4C warm milk;
- 20g grated vintage cheddar.
1. To make the potato topping, place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Cover and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, partly covered, for 20 minutes or until the potato is very tender.
2. In the meantime, make your filling by heating 20g of the butter in a frying pan over med-high heat. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook until softened.
Add the asparagus and cook for a further minute before transferring the vegetables to a small bowl. Wipe the frying pan clean.
3. Heat the oil in the frying pan over a med-high heat and cook the prawns and fish until just well done. Add to a large bowl, tossing through the chopped parsley.
4. Melt the remaining butter (30g) into the same frying pan over med heat until foamy, remove and stir in the flour.
Cook over med heat until lightly golden, then remove and gradually stir in the white wine and milk. Cook, stirring, until the mixture boils and thickens. Stir in the mustard and the cheddar, season well with salt and pepper.
5. Add the sauce to the seafood mix, add the cooked vegetables, and stir everything together. Add a squeeze of lemon if desired.
6. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celcius before arranging four 250ml capacity ramekins on a baking tray. Fill each with an equal amount of the pie filling.
7. Drain the potato and return to the saucepan, stirring over a med-high heat for approximately two minutes until any excess moisture has evaporated. Remove from the heat, then pass through a potato ricer, add the butter, cheese and milk, then stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until combined, smooth and fluffy.
8. Spread onto the tops of the pie fillings using a fork.
9. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes until golden on top. Remove from oven and serve while hot, with a salad if you’re feeling particularly virtuous, or simply dive in without further ado if you’re a lazy (but eager) ass like myself.
There is absolutely nothing better to ward off those winter chills! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, lovelies… xx