I’ve been sitting on my much loved Fish & King Prawn Pie recipe for some time now, eager to share it with you when the time came. It's a trawler to table tale, inspired by my Dad's love of green prawns and a hybrid of Jamie Oliver & Matt Moran's famous recipes - starring local Queensland seafood.
Then two Sundays ago in Sydney’s Sun-Herald newspaper, the Winter Food Issue of 'Sunday Magazine' captured the most edible cover I've seen in ages. Take a look here. It was no surprise to learn it had been shot by the very talented Katie Quinn of What Katie Ate fame - one of our favourite Aussie food bloggers and photographers. Don't you just adore the scaly texture to her fishy puff pastry! Such a clever gal. Thank you Katie. Don't miss her amazing Tokyo images at the worlds largest wholesale fish markets too.
For fellow magazine fanatics and creative friends, have you checked out Cover Junkie yet? - a website dedicated to creative magazine covers.
Creamy Fish and Prawn Pie
prep time: 30 minutes + cooking time: 30 minutes serves 4 (or 6 if served with a side of mash)
Ingredients - knob of butter ❤ 2 tablespoons olive oil ❤ 1 medium carrot, peeled and grated ❤ 2 celery stalks, sliced finely ❤ 1 leek, white part only chopped finely ❤ 1 tablespoon plain flour ❤ 1 lemon, fine zest & juice ❤ 1 cup (250ml) fish stock ❤ 125grams fresh green king prawns ❤ 500 grams firm white fish fillets, diced coarsely ❤ ½ cup (125ml) pouring cream ❤ 1 tablespoon dijon french mustard ❤ 1 cup (120 grams) frozen peas ❤ just picked flat leaf parsley ❤ ½ cup (40 grams) freshly grated parmesan ❤ ½ cup freshly grated quality cheddar ❤ 1 sheet puff pastry (I use Careme - the best from my local deli) OR 1kg potatoes, peeled, cooked & mashed ❤ 1 egg, beaten lightly ❤ sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Method - Preheat oven to hot 220°C (425°F). Lightly butter an oval baking dish (6cup capacity). Grate carrots and slice leek and celery. Finely chop parsley.
Melt butter with oil in a large saucepan. Cook sliced leek, carrot and celery, stirring often until just softened. Add in flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually add in stock and then fish, prawns, lemon juice and zest. Cook stirring gently until fish and prawns are cooked through and mixture boils and thickens. Remove from heat. Stir through the cream, chopped parsley, salt & pepper, mustard, peas and cheeses.
Spoon mixture into prepared pie dish, top with pastry and brush with beaten egg.
Bake pie for 10 minutes at 220°C (425°F), then reduce temperature to 180°C (350°F) for another 20 minutes or until golden brown and fully risen.
If you prefer a pie topping of mashed potatoes to puff pastry - prepare potatoes by peeling and dicing into chunks. Boil rapidly in salted water until tender when pricked with a fork, about 12-15 minutes. Mash well with a dash of butter and milk (or cream). Spread evenly over fish pie mixture and bake the same as above. I prefer the pastry top and mash on the side, best of both worlds.
Top Tips: it’s best to use firm white fish fillet like blue-eye, ling or snapper. Save your fresh softer fish for short gentle steaming. If in doubt, don't be shy - ask your fishmonger, market or co-op trawler at the dock what’s the best freshest fish on offer and how to cook it.
Make sure the pie filling is completely cooled and filled to the top of the dish before topping with the pastry. Use your thumb to gently seal the pastry to the pie dish edges. Make a small hole in the centre to allow steam to escape from pastry lid. Place a tray underneath the pie in the oven in case of any little drips over the side.
If I haven’t time for pie-making I take Stephanie Alexander’s good advice - with a piece of fresh fish and lemon in one hand and a bottle of olive oil in the other, dinner's on the table in 10mins.
The meaning of 'fresh' - the excitement (or fear) of finding what's really on the end of your line...
If you find yourself struggling to answer that popular question “what is traditional Australian cuisine?", please go beyond beef mince and mention our fabulous fish, scallop, lamb and chicken pies- all equally as popular nowadays don't you think. Happy guilt free pie eating MFK friends and a wonderful weekend to all xx