Curried Fish Pie {ModBak}

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.

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15 Comments

  1. March 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    […] Malgieri, savory pie, Savory tart, St Patrick's Day, Tart, Tart dough Flush from my success with curried fish pie, it was time for the next Modern Baker Challenge recipe — cabbage pie. The Savoy cabbage for […]

  2. ap269 said,

    March 22, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Hmm, I really love fish, but curried fish sounds weird to me. I still haven’t taken it off my to-make list, though. So maybe there will be another post about this tart ;o).

    • gaaarp said,

      March 22, 2011 at 9:01 pm

      Funny, I think curry and fish are a natural combination. Make this one — you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

  3. Summer Rose said,

    March 21, 2011 at 2:04 am

    I actually like fish pie u know:-)
    and would have loved to come over for this one. U sure baked the max pie’s and i wish i had too 🙂
    It looks perfectly delicious.

  4. Heather said,

    March 20, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    I applaud you for your commitment to making every recipe from this book – even the ones that sound horrendous. : ) I believe you, I’m sure this tasted much better than it sounds but I still don’t see myself making it in this life time. Nice work.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 20, 2011 at 9:49 pm

      The one I’m really struggling with the meaty pizza thing in this section. I don’t eat pork, and there are too many meats to substitute for this one. And even though my family eats pork, I’m not sure they’ll like that recipe. So I’ve been putting it off. I’ll get to it eventually, I’m just not sure when.

  5. Abby said,

    March 20, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Hm…not sure I’m convinced. Just don’t like fish and too often fish-eaters claim something isn’t fishy…but it is to non-fish-eaters! You are very persuasive, though, since you make me even sort of consider things like curried fish pie, shrimp and pumpkinseed tart, and duck, which is a pretty big step for me. =)

    • gaaarp said,

      March 20, 2011 at 9:47 pm

      I’m not one of those “try it, it’s not at all fishy” or “it tastes just like chicken” kind of guys. I think the reason mine wasn’t fishy was that I used a really mild white fish and the flavor of it was overwhelmed by the curry, chutney, vinegar, etc. Had I not known there was fish in it, I don’t think I’d have guessed it.

      The original recipe from which this was derived is often made with beef, so I suppose you could do it that way, or even with chicken.

  6. Renee said,

    March 20, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I’m sure it was delicious but I still have a mental block up against this one. I don’t know why. I love fish. It just seems odd.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm

      My other thought was that fish pie seems distinctly British, and so many Americans have the idea that British food is bland and inedible.

  7. Sheila Durrant said,

    March 20, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    My only disappointment, is that you say this is not at all fishy. I love fish in every guise, and would love to make this, but only if I could taste the fish. I would make it in tiny form, since I would be the only one eating it, as well. Any suggestions on how to adapt the recipe for a fish lover??

    • gaaarp said,

      March 20, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      I used talapia, which is really mild. That’s probably why it didn’t taste fishy. If you used a stronger fish, I’m sure you could still taste it.

  8. Kayte said,

    March 20, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Good try…still not buying into it…nope, no siree, no Curried Fish Pie here, and I’m not visiting there until I am CERTAIN it is GONE. That said, I am happy you enjoyed it and you do a nice job of making pie, curried fish or not. Did the girls eat it?

    • gaaarp said,

      March 20, 2011 at 12:12 pm

      I’m the only fish eater in the house, so no one else had any. Don’t worry, I only ate one pie and put the second in the freezer for when you visit!


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