Fish Pie

I was in Snowdonia once and as there was nowhere to eat (the glorious Pete’s Eats being shut) we bought a fish pie from the Spar and heated it up in the self-catering oven.  I don’t think I’ve ever eaten anything so claggily, glutinously, blandly nasty in my life.   Nasty, nasty packet fish fie.
Our Life Is Jam fish pie, however, is positively regal. Rich and comforting, creamy and nourishing.  

About the ingredients:

  • The potatoes on top are sliced rather than mashed, which somehow lends it a sophistication. And is quicker to prepare.  
  • The recipe suggests a combination of salmon, smoked fish and prawns and you can of course use whatever combination of fish and shellfish you like – squid, mussels, scallops, prawns – but I would suggest that you always include some smoked fish in there. Don’t even think about making it with white fish alone unless you’re trying to recreate my ghastly Snowdonia Spar experience.

Serves 4


  • 500g potatoes
  • 75g butter
  • 75g flour
  • 500ml milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 250g smoked fish
  • 250g salmon
  • 100g prawns and/or other mixed shellfish
  • Cooked in oil and butter
  • A couple of cloves of garlic
  • The zest and juice of a lemon
  • A splash of white wine or vermouth
  • Parsley


  • Frying pan
  • Saucepan
  • Ovenproof dish (cast iron pan or gratin dish) approximately 25cm in diameter

Preheat the oven to 190º.
Wash but don’t peel the potatoes and boil them for about ten minutes until they’re cooked but still just on the firm side. Slice about 5mm thick.

Potatoes boiling

Meanwhile make a béchamel sauce with the butter, flour and milk.   You can find out how to do it here.
Gently fry the fish in a little olive oil and butter. If the fish has skin, cook it skin-side down (gently sizzling) for a few minutes, flip it over and you’ll find that the skin comes off quite easily. You don’t want fish skin in your fish pie.

salmon frying

Once the fish is nearly cooked, add the shellfish and cook for a few more minutes, then add the garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice and the white wine or vermouth. Don’t cook for more than a couple of minutes after adding these things.

Garlic and lemon

Gently combine the fish mixture and the béchamel sauce, along with the parsley, allowing the fish to break into pieces but not mashing it into a pulp. Put it in the ovenproof dish and then arrange the potato slices on the top.

Fish pie ready

Cook in the oven for about twenty minutes. Everything’s already cooked so it’s only a question of heating it all through and giving the potatoes some colour and crunch. If you think it’s all good and hot – and you’re hungry – you can put the grill on for a bit to get the potatoes just right.
Serve with something green like peas, broccoli or green beans.


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