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British smoked fish pie with Comté mash

  • Serves 4 to 6 people.
  • For the pie:
  • 200g cooked, shell-on prawns
  • 250g sustainable smoked white fish fillet, e.g. haddock or pollock
  • 175g sustainable fresh white fish fillet
  • 175g sustainable salmon fillet
  • 350ml whole milk
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • About 10 peppercorns
  • ½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves removed (keep the stalks)
  • 2 large free range eggs (at room temperature)
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 35g plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • Salt and pepper
  • For the mash:
  • 750g floury potatoes, e.g. Maris Piper or Desirée, peeled and cut into large chunks
  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 60ml whole milk, warmed but not boiled
  • 100g grated Comté cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Turn the oven to 200°C (180°C fan oven).
  2. Shell the prawns and put the shells and heads in a saucepan. Using a sharp filleting knife, skin the fish fillets and put the skins into the saucepan (these all add flavour), the milk, onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf and parsley stalks (save the leaves for later). Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for half an hour.
  3. Make the mash: put the potatoes on to boil. Boil the eggs for 9 minutes, then plunge into cold running water. Peel them and cut into quarters. When the potatoes are cooked, drain them and mash them with two thirds of the butter, all of the milk and three quarters of the cheese, then season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  4. Cut the fish into 2cm cubes and mix in a bowl with the prawns and eggs.
  5. Make the sauce: strain the milk into a jug, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook for a few minutes, stirring with a sauce whisk until smooth – do not let it brown. Remove from the heat, add the milk gradually, stirring all the time to keep it smooth (if it ends up lumpy, beat it with a balloon whisk), then return to a low heat and keep stirring until it thickens slightly. Season and stir in the chopped parsley and chives.
  6. Add the sauce to the fish and stir gently until all the fish is coated in the sauce.
  7. Put the mixture into a pie dish or a few smaller dishes for individual pies, spread the mashed potato on top, make grooves in the potato with a fork, dot over the remaining butter and sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Bake the fish pie for about 20 to 30 minutes (more time for one big fish pie), until the top is golden brown and it is piping hot throughout.

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