There’s no place for salmon in a proper fish pie. I’m sorry, but it’s just not right. It’s somehow too greasy, too lurid and too, well, salmony, to feel anything but ill at ease. It’s not that I hate salmon. The wild stuff is a rare treat, rich and magnificent. And there are a couple of decent salmon farmers (Loch Duart, for one) that allow these once-great beasts space to swim and build up their muscles and fins. But the vast majority of farmed stuff is pap, pure and simple. Ruinous to the environment, and equally dull on the palate. Smoked haddock, on the other hand, is the backbone of this pie. Undyed, of course, alongside some good unsmoked fish, for contrast and balance. A few prawns add life, and queen scallops are a fine addition, too. Even a pot or two of potted shrimps. A good béchamel is essential, and a whisper of booze. But eggs are just gilding the lily. This pie is all about the fish.
To make the mash, put the potatoes in a big pan of salted water, bring to the boil, then simmer for 20–25 minutes, until a knife goes through with ease. Tip into a colander, let them cool down a little, then peel. Heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan until the butter melts, then mash the potatoes with the milk. Season.
To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat, stir in the flour using a wooden spoon, and
Add the wine to the béchamel and cook gently, stirring, for a further 2–3 minutes. Add a big dash of Tabasco. Add the fish, shellfish and chopped parsley and put into a pie dish.
Cover the fish mixture with the mash; using a fork, fluff up the top into small waves and dot with
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