Mullet Pie

An eighteenth-century recipe from a farmhouse near Sennen Cove, one of the loveliest coves on the north Cornish coast. Serve with peas and a green salad on separate plates.


  • 1 grey mullet, about 2 to 2½ lb (1 kg) cleaned and cut in cutlets
  • 1 large bunch fresh parsley with some of the root, well washed
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups (4.5 dl) milk
  • ¼ cup (30 g) flour
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
  • 3 tablespoons clotted cream (if possible) or double cream
  • ¾ lb (360 g) potato pastry
  • 1 egg, well beaten


Put the fish cutlets into a saucepan with the herbs, ginger, pepper, salt, milk and cup (1.5 dl) of water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently, covered, for 20 minutes. Lift out the fish (reserve the cooking liquid) and remove all the skin and bones from each cutlet. Keep the pieces as large as possible and lay them in a pie dish.

In a saucepan, make a roux with the flour and butter. Strain the reserved cooking liquid and gently stir it into the roux. Allow the sauce to boil for 2 minutes, stirring all the time, then remove the pan from the heat and add the cream, stirring lightly, but not amalgamating it entirely with the sauce. Check the seasoning. Pour the sauce over the fish and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Roll out the pastry. Press the crust on to the pie dish. Gild with the egg. Bake at 400°F (200°C, Gas Mark 6) for 25 minutes.