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Paul Mercurio’s fish pie with saison

June 30, 2017

Paul Mercurio

That time of year that is eagerly awaited has finally arrived and we can pull our casserole pots out of the cupboard, turn the oven on low and go to the butchers to buy lamb shanks and osso bucco.

It is the time of one pot cooking, low and slow cooking and of course big hearty soups, meaty stews and pies. Also, it is time to break out the stout – mind you I drink stout all year round – and the big Belgian dubbels and tripels….ah yes, you gotta love winter!

That said, I’m going to mix it up a bit and bring some of my favourite summer ingredients and cook them up in the way the cold winter nights demand. Think those wonderful summer ingredients – prawns, scallops, fish, potatoes and of course French Farmhouse style ales and you can have a seafood feast fit for a winter night.

However, it’s winter and I am going to take those very same ingredients and create the perfect winter’s night feast – Fish Pie. Of course, being me there is beer involved. I think the perfect beer for my fish pie is La Chouffe Blonde. I love this beer with its spicy notes, herbal character and of course high alcohol. It is a great beer to drink and a great beer to cook with and it certainly complements the fish and seafood in my pie.

So get to it – break out the pie dish, crack open a bottle and enjoy!

Recipe and Image from Cooking with Beer by Paul Mercurio, published by Murdoch Books.

¾ cups of milk
¾ cups of Saison – Saison DuPont or La Chouffe or Bridge Road Saison
1 fillet of white fleshed fish – approx 180 g (ling, perch, flat head, blue eye etc) skin off
1 fillet of ocean trout approx 180g – skin on
2 tablespoons finely chopped Tarragon
3 potatoes peeled
Milk, cream and butter for making mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons Olive oil
½ leek – white part finely diced
1 carrot peeled and finely diced
1 stick of celery finely diced
8 prawns
8 scallops with roe
28g of butter
28g of flour
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
Squeeze of lemon juice
Freshly ground black pepper
1/8th tsp white pepper
1/3 cup of grated cheddar cheese or for extra character use a smoked cheese

Place fish fillets in to an oven proof glass dish then pour the milk and Saison over the fillets, season with salt and black pepper and scatter tarragon over. Cover tightly with alfoil and put into an oven at 180 degrees for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the fish is soft and flaking when prodded. Remove fish from the milk and break into large flakes – remove and discard the skin from the ocean trout. (I leave the skin on for the poaching process as it adds extra flavour to the poaching liquor.) Set fish aside in a covered bowl to keep warm. Reserve the poaching liquid.

Cut potatoes into eighths and bring to boil in a saucepan with salted water until tender. Drain then mash the potatoes over gentle heat adding a little milk, cream and butter until you get the texture you require season with salt. They should be creamy and buttery but not too firm or overly soft.

While potatoes are coming to the boil put the olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat and when hot fry the carrot, celery and leek until softened and slightly coloured. Add the prawns and scallops and stir to combine with the veg and then continue to fry until the prawns and scallops are just cooked. Remove from the heat.

Recipe and Image from Cooking with Beer by Paul Mercurio, published by Murdoch Books.

Make a roux – in a saucepan over moderate heat melt the butter. Once it is foaming add the flour and stir to combine then continue to cook – stirring to cook the flour taste out of the roux. Add the poaching liquid a little at a time stirring continuously so as to avoid any lumps. Add the Dijon mustard, the white pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice to the thickened sauce then cheese. Stir until the cheese is well melted and combined then remove from the heat.

In an oven proof glass pie dish or casserole bowl place the poached fish, prawns, scallops and the vegetables and mix so it is well combined then pour over the white sauce. Give the mix a gentle stir so the sauce sinks right through all of the seafood and to the bottom of the dish. Gently cover the entire top of the mix with the mashed potato making sure to use a spatula to scrape the mash over the side of the dish so as to seal the top. Using a fork scrape it over the top of the mash to create a rough texture. Sprinkle some extra cheese over the top then put into a hot oven – 220°and cook until the top of the potato browns and crisps a little.

Serves Four

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