No Eggs Please…We’re British

We had an absolute classic in Chez Jourdain last night. I think most families have the 3 or 4 meals or dishes that they have over and over and never get bored of. Those comfort-food stalwarts that never fail to please. Well last night probably ranks on the top 3 in our house and, for some, probably at number one.

I think you could canvass views from over a dozen foodies, or chefs, and none would agree on what makes a great Fish Pie. Some put cheese in the sauce, others are purists and rely on the poaching liquor and a heavy hand of parsley. Others like to come up with about 300 types of fish for that complex flavour sensation. But while I’m at it, the one ingredient that I absolutely cannot understand is hard boiled eggs. Eggs and fish ?? What’s that all about ??!? Apart from the fact that I really don’t like boiled eggs, the very thought of coming across part of one in an unctuous and velvety fish pie just makes me wretch. So, note to everyone – don’t ever invite me round for supper and put eggs in your fish pie. You’ll probably end up wearing your creation during pudding.

Anyway, back to our version of the great British classic. It must have decent smoked fish, either salmon, haddock or cod (or a combination thereof). We are completely spoiled in having one of the best fishmongers I’ve ever been to near us (Williams and Blunkell – brilliant) that even has its own smokehouse so everything we buy from them is filleted and smoked on premise. And it shows. Next it must have the freshest mussels, pre-cooked in fish stock and wine, with the cooking liquor reserved for the sauce. And we put crayfish tails in ours. Don’t ask why, but the sweetness is a delight when you find one amongst all the other ingredients. And then prawns, super-fresh again, but uncooked going in so they don’t taste like bullets when they’re cooked and the pie is served. No cheese sauce either in our house, but no problem there given the flavours built up from preparing the other fish. And finally, the creamiest of mashed potato with a generous topping of grated cheddar. Then the whole thing baked to perfection for about 45 minutes. Not an egg in sight, just creamy, velvety, fishy wonderfulness.

Feeling hungry yet ?


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