This is one of my favourite fish pies which is really good to serve to guests as it looks so scrumptious and different when baked. Filo pastry keeps it light and is used in a decorative way as a topping. The herby cream cheese filling which is added to cubes of salmon and prawns/shrimp is so smooth and delicious too.
You will need a 20cm (8 in) loose-bottomed flan tin, 3.75cm (1½ inches) deep, buttered, and a baking sheet. Also a deep sided frying pan/skillet.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) gas 6.
Pop the baking sheet in the oven to heat up while preparing the pie.
Now bring some water to the boil in the frying pan/skillet. It will need to be deep enough to cover the salmon. Then add the salmon and bring back to the boil. Immediately remove from the heat, cover the pan/skillet and leave for the water to poach the salmon, about 2–3 minutes, until it is just cooked.
With a slotted spoon, remove the salmon and leave on a plate to cool completely.
Meanwhile, beat together the crème fraîche, cream cheese, eggs, herbs, and seasoning until the mixture is smooth.
Take two of the sheets of pastry, cut them in half to give four sheets. Brush one sheet with melted butter, then lay a second sheet on top, rotating it slightly so the edges don’t line up. Brush this sheet with melted butter. Now lay a third sheet on top, again rotating it slightly, and brush with butter. Lay the fourth sheet on top, slightly rotated.
Lift the pastry layers and line the flan tin, gently pressing the pastry down into the tin. The edges of the pastry should extend over the rim. Now brush the top layer of pastry with melted butter.
Brush the remaining piece of pastry with melted butter and put to one side.
Place the salmon cubes over the pastry and then add the prawns/shrimps.
Pour over the cream mixture.
Now bring the edges of the pastry up over the the filling around the edge, leaving it roughly scrunched up.
Tear the remaining piece of pastry into long strips. Scrunch these up and use them to cover the exposed filling.
Place the flan tin on the hot baking sheet and loosely cover with foil. Then bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
Remove the foil and continue baking for a further 5 minutes until the pastry is crisp and turning golden in colour.
Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes for the filling to set.
Now carefully lift the pie from the tin but leave on the base. Let it cool for 2 minutes then gently slide off the base.
Serve cut into wedges along with a green salad.
Filo pastry dries out very quickly, so keep it covered until it is needed to be used.
As the pastry does not contain any fat it can be refrozen. Remove the packet from the freezer to thaw, keeping it covered. Then when the pastry is needed, unroll it and remove the 3 sheets. Now carefully roll the pastry back up, return it to its wrapping and place back in the freezer.
For this recipe you will need a large frying pan/skillet with lid and a 2.25 litre (4 pint) ovenproof dish
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
Peel and cut potatoes into large chunks. Cook in boiling, salted water for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, cut the broccoli into bite-sized florets, about 115g (4 oz) (1 cup). Not all the head of broccoli will be needed.
Remove the stalks from the dill and reserve. Chop dill leaves and put to one side.
Now lay the salmon in the frying pan/skillet and pour over the water and wine. Add the seasoning, dill stalks, and lemon slices. Cover the panskillet. Bring the liquid slowly to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes or until the fish is just cooked.
Remove from the heat and discard the dill stalks and lemon slices. Using a slice, lift the fish and lay it in the ovenproof dish. Flake into chunks using a fork and check for bones.Then strain and reserve the cooking liquor.
Now scatter the prawns/shrimps and broccoli over the fish.
Next melt the butter in the frying pan/skillet and stir in the flour to form a smooth paste. Remove from the heat and slowly add the reserved cooking liquor, stirring constantly, until the sauce is smooth. Return to the heat and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat and cook for a further minute, while continuing to stir, until the sauce has thickened. Stir in the cream. Add the chopped dill leaves and season. Now pour the sauce over the fish.
Mash the potatoes, adding just enough milk to create a creamy mash. Season well. Cover the fish with spoonfuls of the potato. Don’t flatten the spoon shapes out as you are after a bumpy look.
Then sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and pour the melted butter over the top.
Bake for 40–45 minutes until piping hot and lightly browned.
This is a lovely mediterranean fish dish that is so full of flavour and cooked in just one dish. Chunks of red and yellow peppers and wedges of red onion are roasted in olive oil. Diced Italian tomatoes are then stirred through and the vegetables topped with baby spinach. The haddock fillets lie on the top and are drizzled with more olive oil and fresh rosemary and then roasted. All those delicious juices left on the plate can be soaked up with warm crusty bread.
400g (14 oz) tin Italian chopped tomatoes /can diced tomatoes
225g (8 oz) pkt baby spinach
4 x 140g (5 oz) skinned haddock fillets
salt and freshly ground black pepper
You will also need a large dish that will take the fish in a single layer and be suitable for roasting.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
Skin the onion and cut into thin wedges. Spread in the large dish, drizzle over 2 tablespoons of the oil and roast for 10 minutes until softened.
Meanwhile, wash, deseed, and cut the peppers into thick chunks.
Now add the peppers, wine, and a sprig of the rosemary to the dish and roast for a further 15 minutes.
Then stir through the tomatoes and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.
While the tomatoes are cooking, place the spinach in a large saucepan, add a tablespoon of water and, over a medium heat, cook for 2 minutes until just beginning to wilt. Turn over the spinach a couple of times as it is cooking. Drain into a colander and, using a saucer or small plate, press down onto the spinach to remove the excess water.
Place four mounds of spinach on the roasted vegetables and top each one with a haddock fillet. Drizzle with the remaining oil and the leaves from the other sprig of rosemary. Season well.
Roast for 10–15 minutes until the fish is cooked through. It should be white and begin to flake when separated with a fork.
Wrap the bread in foil and put in the oven for the last 3–5 minutes of cooking to warm it through. Then pop in a basket to serve at the table. Pieces can then be torn from the bread to mop up all the delicious juices left on the plates.
565g (1 lb 4 oz) salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 4 portions
450g (1 lb) baby potatoes (about 9)
450g (1 lb) cherry tomatoes (about 16)
20 black olives, pitted (optional)
3 tbsp olive oil
3½ tsp herbes de Provence
salt and freshly ground black pepper
You will also need a large heavy based baking tray/sheet.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
While the oven is heating up, place the baking tray/sheet in the oven to get hot.
Brush the hot tray/sheet with a little olive oil.
Now toss the potatoes in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and a little salt. Then spread on the baking tray/sheet and roast for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, brush the salmon pieces with a little olive oil and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of herbes de Provence. Season.
After the potatoes have been roasting for 15 minutes, turn them, leaving a space in the centre of the tray/sheet to add the salmon pieces, and then return to the oven for 10 minutes.
While the salmon and potatoes are in the oven, slice the courgettes/zucchinis into 1.25cm (½ inch) rounds and put in a bowl. Add the tomatoes, olives (if using), the remaining olive oil, and herbes de Provence. Season. Now toss to coat.
After the salmon has been baking for 10 minutes, remove the tray/sheet from the oven, turn the potatoes again and spread all the vegetables around the salmon. Return to the oven and continue cooking for a further 10–12 minutes until the tomatoes are just starting to burst but still holding their shape and the salmon is cooked through.
A fish dish that is full of flavour and looks very colourful on the plate.
Salmon brushed with butter and lemon juice is then roasted and served sitting on a bed of buttery spinach with buttery tomatoes alongside. Slices of potato are roasted until crisp to complete the dish.
large bag (plastic container) baby leaf spinach, about 500g (18 oz)
a dash of white wine vinegar
You will also need a roasting tin/pan for the potatoes and an ovenproof dish large enough to lay the fish in a single layer.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.
For the potatoes
Peel and cut the potatoes into even-sized pieces. Place in a pan and cover with water. Bring the water to the boil and then simmer for 7 minutes. Drain and leave for a few minutes until the potatoes are cool enough to handle.
Now thickly slice and add to a large bowl. Season, add the oil and toss to coat. Tip into the roasting tin/pan and roast for 30 minutes, turning a couple of times.
For the fish
Lightly oil the ovenproof dish, add the fish and brush with the melted butter. Season and then squeeze the lemon juice over the top. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 18 minutes.
For the tomatoes
Tip the tomatoes into a small pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and let the juice bubble for 5 minutes to reduce.
Now gradually stir in the cubes of butter over a low heat and then add the sugar. Season to taste.
For the spinach
Melt the butter in a large pan and add the spinach leaves. Cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes.
Next stir through a dash of white wine vinegar, then tip into a colander and press out the liquid.
Divide the spinach among four serving plates and place a salmon portion on top. Spoon the tomatoes around one side of the fish and the crispy potatoes on the other.
You will also need an ovenproof dish, greased. It should be large enough to lay the fish in a single layer.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) gas 4
Bring rice to the boil in 360ml (12 fl oz) (1½ cups) of lightly salted water. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. For brown rice simmer for 15 minutes and for white rice simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the skin from the tomatoes. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Then leave for one minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and gently peel away the skin. (It should come away very easily.) Set aside.
Lightly season the fish with thyme and pepper.
Once the rice has finished simmering for the appropriate time, spread the rice and the remaining water from the pan in the ovenproof dish. (It will not be fully cooked at this point.) Then lay the fish on top of the rice in a single layer and pour over the wine. Slice the tomatoes and arrange on top.
Now melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet, add the onion and garlic and cook over a low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in the breadcrumbs and parsley, then scatter over the tomatoes.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the topping is golden brown.
Cut the lemon into four slices and use to garnish.
A tasty way of serving fish that is quick to prepare and just right for a summer supper. A thick fillet of sole is grilled/broiled smothered in tiny broccoli florets and a cheesy sauce until the sauce is bubbling and golden.
170g (6 oz) broccoli florets (a medium head of broccoli)
40g (1½ oz) butter (3 tbsp, or ⅜ stick)
40g (1½ oz) flour (¼ cup)
300ml (10 fl oz) milk (1¼ cups)
115g (4 oz) cheese, grated (1 cup)
4 large sole fillets, each weighing about 170g (6 oz)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
butter for greasing
28g (1 oz) Parmesan, grated (¼ cup)
Baby new potatoes
You will also need a vegetable steamer and a large baking tray/sheet.
Preheat the grill/broiler to high.
Cut the broccoli florets from the head of the broccoli and then trim and discard the stems. Separate into 1cm (½ inch) chunks and then steam for about 2 minutes until just tender. Remove the steamer from the pan and set to one side.
Now melt the butter in a small pan and then add the flour and stir until smooth. Let this cook gently over a low heat for 1–2 minutes, until it starts to bubble.
Meanwhile, heat the milk in the microwave for 1 minute, which will make it easier to blend into the roux. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the milk, stirring continuously until there is a smooth sauce. Return to the heat, bring the sauce to the boil and stir until it has thickened.
Now remove from the heat and vigorously stir in the cheese until it has melted and blended into the sauce. (Just use the heat of the sauce to melt the cheese. Don’t put the pan over heat on the stove as this will make the cheese go oily.) Set to one side.
Season the fish and then sprinkle over the lemon juice.
Grease the baking tray/sheet and place under the grill/broiler for 1 minute to heat up.
Now lay the fish on the tray/sheet in a single layer. They will sizzle as they touch the hot baking tray/sheet.
With the grill/broiler rack 7.5cm (3 inches) from the heat, cook the fish for just 3 minutes and then remove.
Carefully spoon the broccoli into the cheese sauce to evenly distribute the florets. Now spoon this over the fish and then sprinkle the grated Parmesan on top.
Put the fish back under the grill/broiler and cook for a further 4 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling and beginning to turn golden.
Sprinkle a pinch of cayenne pepper over each piece of fish and serve immediately.
sole fillets (8 small fillets about 85g (3 oz) each, or 4 large about 140g (5 oz )each)*
2 tbsp oil (not olive oil)
lemon wedges to garnish
*If sole is out of season, turbot works really well with this recipe.
For the herb mayonnaise
6 tbsp mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh chervil or basil, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
a soft green salad
You will also need a large frying pan/skillet.
For the herb mayonnaise
In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, lemon juice, and herbs. Season. Cover and chill.
For the sole
Put a plate in the oven to warm.
Mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, and cayenne pepper. Then spread out on a plate.
Pour the beaten egg into a shallow dish.
Season the flour lightly and spread out on a second plate.
Pat dry the sole fillets and then coat in the flour, dip in the egg and finally coat with the breadcrumbs. Put them on a clean plate as you go.
You will probably need to fry the fillets in two batches. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the pan and then add half the fillets. Fry gently for 2–3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. When golden and crisp on the underside, turn and fry for a further 2–3 minutes. Remove from the pan and lay on a piece of kitchen paper to absorb any oil, then transfer to the warmed plate and return to the oven.
Now heat the remaining oil in the pan, then fry the second batch of fillets.
Serve garnished with lemon wedges and herb mayonnaise.
3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
170g (6 oz) butter, cut into small cubes (¾ cup, or ½ stick)
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
1 tbsp chives, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
baby potatoes and green beans
You will also need a large shallow frying pan/skillet with lid
Lay the salmon fillets side by side in the shallow pan/skillet along with the bay leaf and peppercorns. Cut four slices from the lemon and add them to the pan. Cover the salmon with cold water and add the lid. Now bring the water to a boil then remove the pan/skillet from the heat and leave for 5 minutes to finish cooking the salmon.
Meanwhile, squeeze 1 tablespoon juice from the rest of the lemon and add it to a small pan along with the vinegar. Bring to a boil, then let it bubble rapidly over a medium heat until it has reduced by half. It will reduce very quickly so you need to watch it. Put to one side to cool a little while bringing a little water to a gentle simmer in another pan.
Whisk together the egg yolks in a bowl that will fit over the pan of simmering water and then add the cooled vinegar and lemon juice. Place the bowl over the pan and add the butter, one cube at a time, whisking until it has melted. Continue whisking until all the butter has been added and the sauce has thickened.
Remove the bowl immediately from the heat, stir in the herbs and season.
Using a fish slice, drain the salmon fillets and put them on serving plates and then pour the sauce over each fillet.
Summer is in full swing now. Lots of very hot, sunny days and being a summer person this is definitely my time of year. However, Shandy, our labrador, does not agree with me – he finds it just too hot. Even choosing the woods to take him for a walk, where the umbrella of the trees definitely cuts out the blazing heat of the sun, only gives a little respite. For him it’s indoors lying in a cool spot with the air conditioner turned on!
There is invariably something to see on our walks and we were surprised by a young deer with its mother wandering through the trees. They are so elegant and much larger than the muntjac deer we were used to seeing in Oxfordshire.
All that aside, the time I choose to be in the kitchen is less during the summer months and the following recipe is one from my summer collection. There was some lovely wild cod at the fish counter which is very rarely available, so I just had to buy some. It was thick and the flesh was, oh so white. I used it for this recipe. We really enjoyed it and hope you will want to try it too.
A very tasty way to serve cod that is super quick to prepare and cook.
Sun-dried tomato and butter are spread on the cod before topping with the cheese and plum tomato slices. It is then simply grilled/broiled and served with the buttery sauce, peas, green salad and crusty bread. A complete meal in no time.
You will also need a heat-resistant dish that is large enough to lay the 4 pieces of cod in a single layer.
Preheat the grill/broiler. You don’t want the heat too hot or the dish too close to the source of the heat.
Now lay the fish in a single layer in the dish. Spread the tomato paste over the fish and then dot with the butter. Next place two pieces of cheese over each piece of fish and top with the sliced tomatoes.
Grill/broil until the fish is cooked through. This should take about 10–15 minutes depending on the heat of your grill/broiler.
Increase the heat to high for a further two minutes until the tomatoes are just starting to brown.
Meanwhile, cook the peas. This will take just 2 minutes in a microwave.
Serve the fish with all the buttery juices and the peas spooned round the fish. Season.
Sole fillets are a delicate fish and here they are cooked with a cream cheese, parsley and lemon stuffing, which adds to the flavour of the fish without overpowering it. Cooks in just 20 minutes for a delicious meal.