02 August 2009

You Shall Have a Fishy in a Little Dishy

Cooking with left-overs is great. Planning a meal with or around whatever is left facilitates the task and leaves one feeling thrifty and virtuous at the same time. There are always many different options, so I try not to repeat myself to often. Today, I had some sea bass filet left over from yesterday. It would make a great base for a quick pasta sauce, for instance with curry spices and some other sea food, or stuffing for ravioli, won tons or similar. If I had a little more, I would be tempted to make fish cakes. By the way, this is the secret of

Superb Fish Cakes

Make a batter of mashed potatoes, beaten egg and fish, fresh herbs, e.g. parsley or chives, and spices and form into little balls (wet your hands repeatedly), cover and leave to rest in the fridge for some time. When you are ready to eat them, cover in fine breadcrumbs and fry in a frying pan. My children love them with Daddy's special sauce (HP), I would opt for a home-made remoulade or some sour cream. The one thing to remember is that fish cakes are not meatballs, i.e. make a batter of fish, egg and beadcrumbs and live with the result...

Today, though, it had to be a fish pie for me. As with the fish cakes, it is hard to give quantities, as it all depends on what you have at hand. Thus my fish pies tend to vary greatly but follow this basic plan: I use either cooked ingredients or such with a short cooking time, season and cover it all in thickened cream or bechamel and top with a layer of mashed potato. I stick to two rules regarding what can go into a fish pie: avoid too much moisture, so if you want to add e.g. tomatoes, make sure to skin and deseed them; and pay attention to the colours involved. The potato top will provide yellow, and I find I also want something green, chopped parsley, spinach or mangold etc., and somthing orange or red such as smoked or cooked salmon, carrots, tomatoes etc. Today, I had very little fish left over but had bought some fresh prawns to add to the pie, so these will now have to be the major fish element.

Sunday Fish Pie

Peel some potatoes and cut into smallish chunks, boil in salted water until done - you need enough to cover your pie dish with; mind you, left-over mashed potato comes in handy, too. Meanwhile fry off an onion and some chopped carrots, add chopped spinach and garlic, season well. Pour in enough cream to cover, boil for a little while to thicken the cream. Take off the heat and add the cooked fish and raw prawns - the latter will be cooked in the hot liquid in no time - and pour into a pie dish. Mash your potatoes and cream with a little milk and butter, season with nutmeg and salt & pepper, as desired. Cover the fish pie with mashed potato, and make nice patterns with a fork - a rough surface will translate into lovely, crispy bits. You may store the pie in the fridge until needed or cook it straight away. It is as such cooked and only needs warming through, about half an hour at 190 C should do that.

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