What you don’t know about me is that I have a very poor attention span. I’ve been meaning to publish this recipe for a few weeks now but I’m always starting new recipes before finishing others and having to go back, which sometimes can be quite sometime later. Which is why I now find myself about to publish a wintery pie when it’s 3o° outside but I know it’s winter somewhere!
Us Kiwi’s do love our smoked fish. I’m not a great fan of seafood myself but I grew up on my Mum’s tasty Smoked Fish Pie. Her’s is not really a pie per se, there’s no pastry involved whatsoever. It’s a smoked fish filling with sliced boiled eggs layered over it (quite weird when you think about it…it’s a 70’s thing) and then it’s covered in creamy mashed potato, sprinkled with cheese and browned under the grill.
I’ll add Mum’s pie one day but I’m a pastry lover and a lover of salt…(help me) so I’ve made this salty, bacon & smoked fish pie, encased in golden puff pastry…with “baby sharks…do do do do do do” on top.
If you’re a pirate you’ll REALLY love this pie and if you’re not a pirate you’ll really love this pie. It’s canned smoked fish fillets in a bechamel sauce which is made with onions and brine from the fish. There’s also some crispy grilled bacon, capers, parsley, mustard and lemon thrown in so your taste buds don’t get bored and jump overboard.
Yo, ho, ho and a…hmmm, it might be a little early in the day for a bottle of Rum!
150 g / 3 pieces, middle bacon
450 g can of smoked fish fillets
1 small or ½ medium-sized onion
1 tightly packed, teaspoon each lemon zest & juice (from ½ small lemon)
1 small handful of parsley (1 tablespoon when chopped)
1 ½ tablespoons capers
50 g butter
1/3 cup / 50 g standard flour
1 ½ cups milk / 375 ml
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 small egg
1 x 400 g packet puff pastry
Optional – a pinch of salt
Also optional – 1 teaspoon butter
Serves – Depending on the number of sides you are serving it with, it will serve 4 – 6.
- Rather than make a rough puff, I’ve used store-bought puff pastry as it’s nice and flaky and saves time. (Here in NZ I wouldn’t dream about using any brand other than Edmonds).
- If you are using a deep pie dish like mine, you’ll need to use every little scrap of pastry.
STEP BY STEP
Pop the bacon on a grill tray and grill (broil) each side until crispy.
Whilst you are waiting for that, strain the smoked fish, keeping the juice.
Peel and finely dice the onion.
Is that bacon okay?
Next, zest the lemon.
Finely chop the parsley.
And roughly chop up the capers.
Peel or cut off the bacon rind and then chop the bacon into small pieces.
Just leave all the prep aside for now.
Place the butter in a medium-sized saucepan and over a medium/low heat cook the onions, stirring often for 3 minutes or until they’ve softened. (Whilst they are cooking get a whisk ready.)
Add the flour and stir it in well.
Still over a medium/low heat and stirring constantly, cook the ‘roux’ for 2 minutes (if it starts to brown at all, turn the heat down a little).
Add ½ cup of the smoked fish brine and ½ cup of the milk and whisk it in well, making sure there is no roux stuck to the bottom edges of the pan.
Turn the heat up to medium and add the remaining 1 ½ cups of milk…½ cup at a time…whisking the entire time and waiting for it to thicken slightly before each addition.
That’s the sauce ready!
Add the smoked fish to the sauce as well as…
…the lemon zest and juice, parsley, capers, bacon, whole grain mustard, black pepper and if you wish a pinch of salt.
- This pie has salty fish, brine and bacon so only add a pinch of salt if you love salty things.
Use a fork to mix it all together, making sure you break up the fish fillets.
Putting it together
First, place an oven rack a third up from the bottom of the oven and turn it to 170°C fan/convection oven or 190°C conventional oven, on bake.
Next, make an egg-wash by placing the egg in a small bowl and then use a spoon to remove around a third of the egg-white.
- Removing some of the white will give the egg-wash a better colour, not too dark, not too light.
Use a fork to whisk it up well.
Lightly flour a clean and dry surface, and cut the pastry in half.
- If it’s a hot day and the pastry seems too soft to handle, return it to the fridge for 20 minutes before trying again.
Using ye trusty ole rolling pin, roll one half of the pastry out evenly until it is 2 mm thick.
- Rotate the pastry often and if the rolling pin starts to stick to the pastry sprinkle a very small amount of flour over the surface of the pastry.
Upturn the pie dish and place it on the pastry.
Cut around it, leaving an extra rim of ½ cm.
Lightly sprinkle the circle of pastry with flour, fold it in half and then half again, and set it aside for now (leave the scraps of pastry aside, without scrunching them up).
Give the pie dish a generous spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- If you like you can grease it well with a teaspoon of butter.
Roll out the second half of the pastry to the same thickness as before.
Slightly overlap the scraps from earlier over the edges of the larger piece and then run the rolling pin over again so it all blends together.
Carefully lay the pastry over the rolling pin and move it to the pie dish, laying it over.
Gently guide and press it into the bottom and then up the sides of the dish.
Use the trimmings to patch up any gaps around the sides by slightly overlapping the joins and pressing them together firmly.
Trim around the edges with a sharp knife.
- You might like to save the scraps for some pie artwork.
Place the filling in…WHOOPEE, nearly there!
Place the point of the folded pastry lid in the centre and then unfold it…
…to cover the whole top of the pie filling.
Depending on the size of your dish, it may lay flat or like this one, can be slightly tucked in around the filling so that the edges of the bottom and the top pastry match perfectly (which will look nicer).
Use a fork to press the edges together and…
…then use a sharp knife to pierce some air vents into the top.
Use a pastry brush to glaze the entire top with the egg-wash.
If there are any scraps you can have fun and decorate the top of the pie, brushing those with egg wash too.
Place it in the oven to cook for 40 minutes or until the pastry underneath is a nice, even brown.
- I slide a slim metal spatula down the side and gently lift it up to have a look. This is where glass bakeware really earns its keep.
Keepin’ it fresh – Will keep, well covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. To reheat, wrap it in tinfoil with some holes pierced into the top and place it in the oven at the same temperature it was cooked on.
- Of course, you can reheat it in the microwave but you know the pastry will soften. 🙁