November 11, 2004
Cheddar Fish Pie

If you're having a rough day, the temperature has dropped, and you want something to feed the whole family, this could be your dinner tonight.

A few nights ago, I had a craving for a fish pie. The strange thing about that is that I'd never had a fish pie before in my life, but still, I craved it. My stomach works that way, sometimes. I think it may have been James Beard's housekeeper in another life.

Luckily I'd purchased a couple of nice Lake Superior whitefish filets the day before with the intention of using them in some dish that evening. My wife, Rebecca, was very happy that we'd be having something healthy for dinner. The weather has just turned here and I tend to rely on pretty hearty dishes until broken of the habit.

Sadly, this wasn't to be the light meal she was hoping for. I found a recipe out on the web that I modified a bit. A link to the original is at the bottom of the recipe. The original calls the topping "scones", but I think they are more like biscuits.

My wife enjoyed the dish as much as I did, but I think she was a little skeptical of the nutrition/fat ration. The scone/biscuits on top make the dish, but if you have kids, you might try sprinkling cheddar Goldfish crackers on top to make it more fun.

Don't worry about my wife. I promise I'll make her a salad based dish this week. And I don't mean egg salad.

Cheddar Fish Pie
1.5 lb whitefish filets. If you buy with skin, remove skin before cooking
1 stick of butter, divided
1 1/4 cups flour
2 cups of milk plus 3 tablespoons
1/3 lb.shredded cheddar. Measure by weight since the packability of shredded cheese makes a volume measure meaningless.
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 egg yolk

First cut the filets up into medium sized chunks, and discard any bones or skin. Arrange the fish in the bottom of a medium casserole dish.

Melt half a stick of butter in a saucepan. Add 1/4 cup of flour and stir until it combines with the flour. Let cook a few minutes until it just colors. Add 2 cups of milk and 1/4 lb grated cheddar. Stir until cheese melts, and sauce thickens.

Pour cheese sauce over the fish in casserole dish.

Combine 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Mix together. Next cut up the remaining half stick of butter into small cubes. Mix these into the flour mix. Add two ounces of shredded cheese and the egg yolk and mix everything together. If the dough doesn't hang together, add a little of the 3 tablespoons of milk dribble by dribble until the dough hangs together. You want the dough to be as dry as it can be while still workable.

Roll the dough out to between 1/4" and 1/2" in thickness (I actually prefer the 1/4" rounds). Top the casserole with these rounds. When you finish, gather up the scrap dough, reroll it, cut out more rounds and complete the topping of the casserole. Handle the dough as little as possible.

Brush a little milk onto the top of the biscuits, sprinkle a little more cheese on top, and bake in a 450 oven for 25 minutes or until the biscuit top is GBD (Golden, Brown, and Delicious).

Let cool at least 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Great with a side of a green vegetable like green beans.

Original recipe is here.

Posted by Barrett in Maryland at November 11, 2004 1:29 PM | TrackBack Print-friendly version
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