Comfort food at its best, this fish pie is best served in your pjs on the sofa and is very much a treat. I love the smokiness the haddock adds to the dish and it’s such a delight finding a couple of slices of egg hidden under the creamy mound of mash, delicious!
400g skinless white fish fillet, cod works well
400g skinless smoked haddock fillet
100g pre-cooked prawns
600ml full-fat milk
1 small onion, quartered
150g frozen green peas
2 bay leaves
small bunch parsley, leaves only, chopped
50g plain flour
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1kg floury potato, peeled and cut into even-sized chunks
50g cheddar, grated
Poach the fish. Put the fish in the frying pan and pour over 500ml of the milk. Stud each onion quarter with a clove, then add to the milk, with the bay leaves. Bring the milk just to the boil – you’ll see a few small bubbles. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 mins. Lift the fish onto a plate and strain the milk into a jug to cool. Flake the fish into large pieces in the baking dish and scatter over the prawns and frozen peas.
Hard-boil the eggs in a pan of boiling water for 8 mins, then drain and cool in a bowl of cold water. Peel, slice into quarters and arrange on top of the fish, then scatter over the chopped parsley.
Make the sauce. Melt half the butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook for 1 min over moderate heat. Take off the heat, pour in a little of the cold poaching milk, then stir until blended. Continue to add the milk gradually, mixing well until you have a smooth sauce. Add a splash of milk if the sauce is a bit on the thick side. Return to the heat, bring to the boil and cook for 5 mins, stirring continually, until it coats the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, season with salt and pepper, then pour over the fish.
Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Boil the potatoes for 20 mins or so. Drain, season and mash with the remaining butter and milk. Use to top the pie, fluff the top with a fork, sprinkle with cheese, then bake for 30-40 mins.
The pie can be made up to a day ahead, chill, then bake for 40 mins.