Roast Potato-Topped Fish Pie with Adnams Spindrift
Consider the Potato. One of life’s little nothings; a staple across the world, a food that everyone likes. Chipped, roasted, boiled or mashed, the potato is both a jack of all trades and master of them all. You like potatoes. I like potatoes. We all like potatoes.
Except Louise, my wife.
Well, almost. Mashed potatoes are something she just can’t handle the taste and texture of, which causes no end of issues in the kitchen. Sausage and…new potatoes? Nah. Cottage Pie? nah. Fish Pie. Christ; you can’t do fish pie without that field of mash, forked, buttered, browned on top, can you?
Maybe. We make it with Roast Potatoes on top, as that’s what she’ll eat – and although different, it’s pretty tasty. Here’s what you do.
First, make your Roasties. Now, I’m not going to tell you a definitive way to do this -as there are as many variances as there are cooks – but I will say that using chicken, duck or goose fat works better in the overall flavour of this meal than lard or beef fat. I par-boil my halved spuds first – sometimes leaving the skin on – shake them about to get them roughed up a little, then slaver in (normally goose) fat, black pepper and salt and then roast in a hot oven for about 30-40 minutes, turning halfway through.
For the fish pie filling, again it’s a simple case of doing a simple fish pie base. Simmer one fillet of firm white fish such as Coley (what I used here), Monkfish or Sole, and one fillet of Salmon in milk with half a chopped Onion, a Bay Leaf and some Black Peppercorns. After about ten minutes, throw in a handful of raw Prawns.
When the fish is firm and the Prawns pink, remove to a warmed plate and break up into chunks for the pie. Strain the milk into a jug and reserve. Make a simple roux with Butter and Flour, but use your flavoured, reserved milk to make into a Bechamel sauce.
Spread out in a pie dish, and arrange your Roasties on top. Sprinkle big chunks of salt on top, and bake at 175c for another 25 minutes.
Fish Pie without the mash, for all (three of you) mash haters out there. Beer-wise, you want to be going for something light and citric to cut through that sauce but not overwhelm with tonnes of Grapefruit or Pine. Adnam’s Spindrift fits the bill, and not just because of its nautical feel; enhanced by the name and the gorgeous blue bottle. At 4% abv it’s a super-easy drinking, pale, a hint of cereal in the body and refreshing with a hint of Lemon and Strawberry as it fades to a dryish finish. It’s clean, fruity but entirely restrained, and a beer I’d recommend with food any day of the week. Give it a go.