This luxurious recipe comes with a story tonight.
I had planned the fish pie as a special meal (just because). Fresh gulf shrimp, cod, and smoked salmon belly wrapped up in homemade pie pastry – it was going to be amazing.
Just before dinner time, your dad called me on his way home, as he does every day. But I could tell that it had not been a good day in the office. So when he asked, as usual, what’s for dinner? And I said fish pie. And he hesitated. The next thing I said came out of my mouth almost naturally, why don’t you order a pizza? It will make you feel better.
He did. And he did feel better.
The reason I share this story is because I want you to know that you are the reason I cook and blog. When the instagrammable moment passes, when the pride in the work of my hands wanes, what remains on the table is my love note to you. It is not about the pie at the end of the day. It is about you wanting to come home and know that you are loved.
Love from Mom
3/4 lb fresh wild-caught shrimp, shell on
2 cups whole milk
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
Pinch of salt
1 lb fresh cod fillet, deboned
1/4 lb smoked salmon belly (not sliced smoked salmon) or smoked haddock
1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley OR dill, leaves only, chopped
4 eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and chopped
5 tbsp butter
1/4 cup flour
Salt and white pepper
Double pie pastry *
A. Remove the shells from the shrimp. Devein and boil the shrimp in water until they turn pink.
Place the shells in a saucepan with the milk, onion, bay leaf and salt. Bring just to a boil then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and leave for 15 minutes.
B. Lay the cod fillet in a shallow pan. Strain the milk (A) over the cod and bring to a simmer again for 5 minutes. Transfer the cod carefully to a plate, reserving the milk. Flake the fish using two forks.
Flake the smoked salmon belly. Add the cod, smoked salmon, parsley and hard-boiled eggs into a large bowl.
C. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan. When it has stopped foaming, whisk in the flour to make your roux. Then add the reserved milk (B), whisking as you pour, to make a smooth thick sauce. Season with salt and white pepper.
Strain the sauce over the fish pie mixture in the bowl (B). Mix thoroughly. This is your fish pie filling. Cool in the refrigerator.
D. Preheat the oven at 350F / 175C. Lay the first pie pastry in a pie dish. Dust the bottom of the pie base with some flour. Transfer the cooled fish pie filling (C) into the pie dish. Cover with the second pie pastry and seal the edges by folding both overlapping edges under and pressing them together firmly. Crimp with your fingers or a fork. Cut four slits on the top and brush all over with a beaten egg.
* Many British recipes top a fish pie with mashed potatoes. I prefer pie crust.