I’m not sure why the idea of fish pie seems so odd to the American chef. Perhaps because we tend to think of pies as sweet rather than savory. Or maybe it’s that we just don’t cook with fish that often and when we do we make the same recipe we’ve always used for that particular kind of fish. Whatever the reason, most of the participants in the Modern Baker Challenge seemed put off by this recipe. In fact, as I write this, I think I’m the only one who has made this dish. And to be honest, but for the Challenge I doubt I’d have made it, either.
Since I’m the only one in my family who eats fish, I cut the dish down by 2/3 and made two smaller pies instead of one large one. This pie uses the rich pie dough, which I had made ahead of time and frozen in disposable pie pans.
I began by sautéing onions and garlic in olive oil until they were soft and starting to color. I added the fish, lots of spices, and some milk, and simmered gently until the fish was cooked through. Then I shredded the fish with two forks.
I added the rest of the ingredients, which consisted of sugar, vinegar, mango chutney, golden raisins, almonds, and fresh bread crumbs softened in milk.
After mixing everything together and tasting for seasoning, I stirred in the eggs then poured the filling into the prepared shells. I baked the pies at 375°F for about 30 minutes. When the crust was baked through and the filling set, I topped the pies with custard and returned them to the oven for another 10 minutes.
The recipe says to serve the pie at room temperature, but I wasn’t sure about that, so I tried it fresh from the oven.
It shouldn’t have surprised me to find that this pie was delicious. The curry and chutney flavors really came through, and it was not the least bit fishy. It was sweet, tangy, savory, and slightly acidic (in a good way) all at the same time. In fact, I think this was the most subtle and complexly flavored dish that I’ve made from this section of the book.
It’s a shame that so many of the Challenge participants shied away from this recipe. If people had been able to get past their initial reactions and try this dish, I think they would have liked it.
I’d like to have all the Modern Bakers over and serve them this pie, as I’m sure there would be many converts.