Not so long ago I was asked to describe my last meal on this fine earth – where it would take place, how and when. I replied that I would sit at the end of the pier in Southend with my wife and my two wonderful boys. I would eat fish and chips or a good fish pie. I’d drink a glass of apple cider. It would be fantastic. Or as we say in Essex, that would be pukka!
For a family of four
50g plain white flour
100ml whipping cream
100ml fish stock made from fish bones and the juice from the steamed shellfish.
500g fresh seasonal white fish fillets without skin, cut into large cubes - cod, haddock, pollock, plaice
500g fresh shellfish, steamed, peeled and chopped into cubes, for example lobster, prawns, langoustine, mussels, cockles or scallops
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped chives
Sea salt and fresh pepper
2 large baking potatoes, steamed, mashed and mixed with a little extra butter and grated cheddar cheese
Melt the butter, whisk in the flour and let it cook a little. Heat the cream and the stock together in the same saucepan and pour slowly over the flour, a little at a time, whisking continuously to prevent lumps. When the sauce is thick and shiny, remove it from the heat.
Most carefully fold in the fish, shellfish and the herbs, season well with salt, pepper and a little lemon juice. Divide among four bowls, or indeed pour into one large dish, loosely spoon the cheesy mashed potatoes on top. Bake the pies at 180°C/gas 4 for 25 minutes, golden and luverly.
Serve with garden peas, knobbed with butter.
Recipe from Paulfood by Paul Cunningham published by Grub Street.