We can expect lots of friends and family to drop by to catch up for Christmas.

This pie is easy to prepare and sits in the fridge for a few days before cooking. Freezes well too.

Easy to heat up and an instant comforting dish to share.



500g floury potatoes, Maris Piper, King Edward, peeled and quartered

Unsalted butter

1 leek

1 bulb fennel

500 ml full fat milk

2 fresh bay leaves

600g fish pieces, salmon, trout, smoked haddock, hake, coley

200g smoked salmon trimmings

fresh dill

flat leaf parsley

1 tablespoon plain flour

Sea salt and freshly ground white pepper

150g grated Mull cheddar

75g grated Parmigiano Reggiano


unwaxed lemon


Butter an oven-proof dish.

Boil the potatoes in salted water.

Drain and mash with some butter and milk. Set aside.

Wash the leeks, discarding any course outer leaves.

Trim and prepare the fennel, setting aside the fronds

Finely chop both.

Soften a blob of butter in a saucepan and add the chopped leeks and fennel.

Stir and sweat on a low heat until softened.

Finely chop the parsley, dill and fronds of the fennel and add.

Layer on the base of the oven-proof dish.

Check there are no bones in the raw fish and put the rinsed pieces into the milk with the bay leaves.

Bring to a simmer.

Turn off the heat and set aside to allow the fish to infuse the milk.

Prepare the cheese sauce.

Melt 50g unsalted butter in a pan and add the flour.

Stir until they form a paste and cook for 3-4 minutes.

Remove the fish from the milk.

Discard the bay leaves.

Now, add the infused milk into the flour roux, stirring continuously to make a white sauce.

Don’t worry too much about lumps as they will cook out in the finished dish.

Add the grated cheddar and season with sea salt and freshly grated white pepper.

Add some gratings of nutmeg.

Finally, assemble the dish.

Add the poached fish pieces over the leeks and scatter with the chopped smoked salmon trimmings.

Spoon over the cheese sauce, adding some more milk if it is too thick.

Make sure you scrape all the sauce into the dish.

Top the pie with a layer of mashed potatoes, fork it to create some spikes in the potato and sprinkle with the grated Parmigiano.

When ready to bake pre-heat the oven 200C/Gas 6.

Bake for 30 -35 minutes until the filling is piping hot and the topping is crisp and golden.

Serve with some lemon.

Mary Contini OBE is a writer and Director of Valvona & Crolla ltd. We are happy to welcome you in our CaffèBar and shop again, open all day. Book and order online: www.valvonacrolla.com

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