4 March 2013

Gratin au Poisson Fumé

Smoked Fish Bake
I tried out a new Rachel Khoo recipe yesterday, which turned out really well. We had some smoked haddock, which is one of my favourite fish and it is ideal for this fish pie. Usually, fish pie in my house involves salmon and mash, but you would hardly recognise this dish for the more usual salmon pie. This is lovely served with runner beans.
  •  750g (8-10) medium potatoes -this is a good way of using up cooked potatoes like roasties
  • 250g smoked haddock or other white fish
  • Optional: steamed veg such as celery, carrots or peas. This helps to make the dish go further.
  • Handful of chopped fresh parsley
  • Handful of mature cheese -I used smoked Cheddar and Parmesan, but Comté or Gruyere would be even better
  • For the Béchamel sauce:
  • 30g butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 500ml lukewarm milk (ideally whole)
  • 1/4 onion, skin removed, studded with around 5 cloves
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed by a knife
  • 1 bay leaf
  • grating of nutmeg
  • salt and white pepper
(If using fresh potatoes and veg, set them to steam now)
Firstly, make the Béchamel sauce. In a large, heavy-based sauce pan, melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the flour and beat until smooth. Remove from the heat for two minutes, then slowly add the milk, whisking and beating constantly. Put the pan back on the heat, adding the onion, garlic and bay leaf, and keep beating regularly else the sauce will burn. Simmer for ten minutes, loosening with a little milk if needed. Remove the onion, garlic and bay leaf, and season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Using white pepper is purely aesthetic -black pepper will leave black speckles, but is perfectly fine to use. I used my favourite smoked salt from The Cornish Sea Salt Company, to enhance the flavour. Allow to cool a little.

Preheat the oven to 180'C, Gas mark 4.
Chop the potatoes to 1/2 cm slices. Skin the fish and cut into bite-sized chunks and add to the Béchamel sauce, along with the parsley (save a little to garnish) and vegetables, if using. Spoon into a baking dish, and top with the potatoes. Sprinkle over the cheese and remaining parsley, and bake for 25 minutes. If you like a crunchier, caramelised top, leave for an extra five minutes. Serve, and enjoy.



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