Reinventing a Classic

Yesterday, I reminisced about my week at leiths cooking school - and decided I wanted to create one of the dishes made at school with an allergy-friendly twist. I also wanted to use my individual pie dishes from jamie oliver's shop (I bought two ages ago at his recipease shop in Clapham Junction, but haven't used them yet!). After picking up some nice fresh fish at the farmer's market - a HUGE piece of cod and a smaller piece of salmon - and a little container of potatoes, a large bunch of spinach, and some parsley, it was clear what I was going to make: fish pie. This is such a classic British dish, but one that any dairy-free individual like myself would never be able to enjoy. I picked up a carton of almond milk at my local convenience store (how convenient! they have quinoa milk and rice milk there as well!) - and noticed this bizarre item on the shelf:

Anyone fancy thanksgiving-in-a-can? Gross.

I'm actually really pleased with how my fish pie turned out, and with a few tweaks on the amounts of some ingredients, it would be perfect. I mostly followed the Leiths bible recipe, but made lots and lots of adjustments - so I consider this one all my own. I sincerely hope you try it sometime! If you eat fish of course :)

Dairy-Free Fish Pie

Makes two individual portions

The particulars:

  • 1 large cod fillet + 1 small salmon fillet OR any combo of fish/seafood - but definitely include a white fish
  • 1/2 pint non-dairy milk (I used almond milk, but any will do)
  • 1 small onion, halved and sliced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach leaves, washed and torn
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or butter
  • 1 tbsp spelt (or gluten-free) flour
  • 3 cups of mashed potatoes
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F / gas mark 4.
  2. Lay the fish fillets in a roasting pan, skin side up. Meanwhile, make the mashed potatoes - peel potatoes and boil until soft. Mash with a masher (or press through sieve with wooden spoon) - add coconut oil/butter and non-dairy milk until desired smoothness. Put lid on the saucepan and set aside.
  3. Heat the milk with the onion, leek, salt, and pepper.
  4. Pour over the fish. Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the fish is firm and creamy-looking.
  5. Strain off the milk and reserve it for the sauce. Remove the skin and bones from the fish. Flake the fish and set aside.
  6. Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan, remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Return to the heat and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and gradually add the reserved milk mixture.
  7. Return to the heat and stir, bringing slowly to the boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over the fish in individual pie tins, and add the spinach and parsley leaves. Stir carefully to combine everything.
  8. Turn the oven up to a higher temperature. Spread a layer of mashed potatoes on the top and mark with a fork in a criss-cross pattern. Place in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are slightly browned on top.

Lesson learned: this is a wonderful comfort food meal. Can't wait to make it again for a guest! So yummy and worth the time and effort it takes to create.