Tag Archives: fish and leek

Hot-Smoked Fish and Leek Pie

This gorgeous pie is, for me, the perfect antidote to all the rich menus of Christmas without the usual deprivation that is often present in January meals (as everyone announces the need to diet). It’s still indulgent with the help of puff pastry and cream but is also light and really, really tasty given the combination of smoked fish and fresh herbs. It also has the advantages of being really easy and a filling that you make in advance – great for a supper sharing with friends and family.

Serves 8

What you need…

2 x large baking sheets, 1 of which is lined with baking parchment

500g leeks, sliced into 1cm chunks and washed

40g butter

3 heaped tablespoons plain flour

250g hot smoked salmon, forked roughly into large flakes

250g smoked mackerel, forked roughly into large flakes

500ml double cream 500ml

300g red potatoes, quartered and sliced into £1 coin-thick pieces

4 tablespoons rapeseed oil

Sea salt and black pepper

3 tablespoons parsley, chopped

1½ tablespoons tarragon, chopped

375g puff pastry

1 large, happy egg, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon nigella/poppy seeds

What to do…

Melt the butter in a deep heavy-based pan over a moderate heat and then tip in the leeks. Pop on a lid and cook for 10 minutes, so they are soft but not brown.

Gently warm the double cream in a small pan and remove from the heat. Add the flour to the leeks, stir and leave to cook for a couple of minutes then gently stir the fish into the leeks. Pour over the warm double cream and leave to cook over a low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Meanwhile, warm the rapeseed oil in a shallow pan then sauté the potato slices on both sides over a moderate heat until golden on the outside but still soft in the middle.

Fold the cooked potatoes into the fish and leek cream, season to taste with salt and black pepper; then gently stir through the chopped parsley and tarragon. Transfer to a mixing bowl and leave to cool before thoroughly chilling in the fridge (preferably overnight). If you skip this step it will be impossible to shape the pie.

Set the oven at 200˚c / 400˚f / gas 6. Place the unlined baking sheet upside down in the oven.

Cut the pastry in half then roll out each piece into a rectangle of   about 32cm x 22cm. Place one rectangle on the remaining lined baking sheet and then pile the cold filling on top of the pastry, leaving a border on all four sides of at least 2cm.

Smooth the top of the filling so you have a deep rectangle of mixture. Brush the bare edges of the pastry generously with the beaten egg.

Place the second sheet of pastry over the filling then press the edges of the two pieces of pastry firmly together to seal well (to prevent leakage).

Brush the top layer of pastry all over with more beaten egg, scatter with the nigella or poppy seeds, then pierce a small hole in the centre with knife or the handle of wooden spoon.

Pop in the oven, placing your pie-laden baking sheet on top of the hot, upturned one, and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Leave to rest for 5 minutes before sliding off the baking sheet onto a serving board or dish and slicing into thick generous slices of gorgeousness – enjoy!

Tip…

I believe that placing the food-laden baking sheet on top of an already hot one reduces the chances of a soggy bottom when cooking pastry and I now do this with all pastry bakes.

Inspired by…

Nigel Slater

How easy…

Very easy. Quite a lot of washing up for the prep of the filling but I love the fact that you do very little the day you actually want to eat it!