It has been raining in Edinburgh since the early afternoon, the grey light barely managing to limp through the window into the living room.
Time for some comforting stodge, me thinks. Grab a spoon:
-White fish, such as haddock or cod (4-5 pieces, skinned & boneless)
-milk in which to cook said fish
-shallots (a tablespoon or so, finely diced)
-potatoes for mashing
-cheddar cheese, grated
-hard boiled eggs, sliced
-tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
Specifically I used Catherine Brown’s recipe from her book Classic Scots Cookery. However, I made a few small adjustments. Since I lacked breadcrumbs, I made my own from a crunchy baguette. I didn’t have any shallots so I made due with a bit of red onion. And though the recipe calls for tomatoes, I am not a fan of cooked tomatoes, so I left them out.
The recipe is simple but requires several separate steps, which had me shuffling around the kitchen in a bit of a state, making things much more complicated than they needed to be.
First I made some mashed potatoes and boiled a few eggs (the recipe only calls for 2 hard boiled eggs but since I wasn’t having any tomatoes I thought an extra egg would be okay).
It had been a long time since I cooked with fish and I had forgotten how pleasurable it can be, because it cooks so quickly and looks lovely when it starts to fall apart. The fish is cooked in milk and the diced onion, covered for about five minutes until it is flaky (don‘t forget to season with salt and pepper!).
When you drain the fish, keep the cooking liquid and while the fish is cooling, make a roux using butter and flour and the oniony fishy milk. If you are feeling adventurous you can add some white wine as well.
The fish is then added back into the roux and given a wee stir so the fish flakes apart some more and the mixture is ready to be added to the dish. Pour half of it into the pie dish, and stop to top it with the sliced eggs (and, if using, your sliced tomatoes).
Pour over the second half of the fish mixture and top with mashed potatoes, into which you have mixed the grated cheddar. Yum.
Top the whole thing with bread crumbs and some more cheese if you fancy it. All you really need to do now is put it under the grill to get the top to brown. I don’t have a proper grill but I left it on the top level of the oven and that did the trick.
The final result: Delicious. Rich and Moorish - the perfect meal for a rainy day.
What is your favourite Scottish seafood dish?