Fish Pie with Sweet Potato and Parsnip Top

If you can find really fresh, thick fillets of cod, this is a dream of a fish pie. Serve with a green vegetable such as broccoli or a salad. To make sure the sweet potatoes are the orange-fleshed kind, scrape off a little skin before buying.

Ingredients

  • 450 g/1 lb orange-fleshed sweet potatoes
  • 350 g/12 oz parsnips
  • 75 g/3 oz butter
  • 800 g/ lb skinned thick cod fillets
  • 750 ml/ pints full cream milk, plus 2 tablespoons
  • 3-4 pinches cayenne pepper
  • bunch spring onions
  • 2 rounded tablespoons cornflour
  • 2 rounded teaspoons whole grain mustard
  • salt
  • black pepper

Method

Peel the sweet potatoes and parsnips, then cut them up roughly. Steam or boil until very soft, then drain and mash with 50 g/2 oz of the butter. Cut the cod fillet into 2.5-5cm/1-2in chunks. Spread them over the base of a wide saucepan and pour over 150 ml/¼ pint of the milk. Cover the pan, put over a medium heat and bubble very gently for 3-4 minutes, until the fish is opaque. Pour the poaching milk into the mashed potatoes and parsnips and mix in thoroughly. Season with the cayenne pepper and some salt.

Trim the spring onions and chop them across fairly thinly, using as much of the green part as possible. Preheat the grill to high and put a shallow heatproof serving dish in a low oven to warm.

Put the cornflour and 2 tablespoons of milk into a saucepan and stir until smooth. Gradually stir in the remaining milk. Bring to the boil, stirring, and bubble, still stirring, for about 3 minutes, until thickened. Add the spring onions and bubble for another minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard, with salt and black pepper to taste. Put the pieces of poached cod in the warm serving dish and pour the spring onion sauce over them.

Spoon the sweet potato and parsnip mixture over the fish and spread it in rough flicks. Dot with the remaining butter and put under the grill for 5-8 minutes or until the surface is very darkly speckled all over. If necessary, keep in a very low oven for up to 20 minutes before serving.

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