These late winter months are the perfect time to enjoy seafood. The high Christmas prices have dropped and the limited availability of fish, due to so many bank holidays, has eased. With mussels, haddock & salmon all in their prime it’s the perfect time for a rich and satisfying fish pie.
When choosing fish for my pie I usually buy wild, but with wild fish stocks dangerously low Scottish farmed fish is becoming a perfectly acceptable alternative. Scottish fish farms are at the cutting edge of modern fish farming, pioneering sustainable methods in their pristine coastal waters.
The cool waters surrounding the Shetlands and the Orkneys also provide the ideal habitat for mussels. Grown on ropes suspended above the seabed, these mussels don’t ingest any grit or sand, and the strong tidal currents provide plenty of natural food, making the mussels plump and giving the meat a wonderful flavour. The addition of some smoked fish can really help to lift the flavour of a fish pie. Avoid artificially dyed fillets, choosing naturally smoked fish instead.
Fish Pie with Shetland Mussels
- Make a buttery mash. Season but don’t add cream or it will be too wet.
- Wash the mussels, removing the “beard” that runs between the shell, and discarding any that are not tightly shut.
- Poach 200g of diced salmon & naturally smoked haddock in 500ml of simmering milk. Remove then poach the mussels for a few minutes. Strain of the milk.
- Melt 40g of butter in a medium pot and stir in 40g of flour. Heat gently for 2 minutes stirring constantly and then gradually whisk in the milk. Simmer for a few minutes (pass through a sieve if there are any lumps).
- Place the fish & the meat from the mussels (discarding any that haven’t opened) in a suitable oven dish. Sprinkle over some chopped chives and add enough white sauce to nearly cover the fish.
- Carefully top with mash and then bake in a hot oven, until the mash is golden and the inside is piping hot.