Smoked and Spicy Fish Pie

We came up with this recipe recently on a job for US Vogue. We were out on location in Sussex in a wonderful house with an amazingly big kitchen – ovens, grills, walk in fridge, the works. It is such a treat for us to have the use of an oven, so when we do we want to use it the most we can, roasted veg, slow cooked lamb, roast chicken, you name it. We have had the idea of doing a smoked fish pie for a while, and as there weren’t many meat eaters on this particular job so we went for something fishy for the main. The crew were out on location all day so we decided to make something a bit heartier than just the usual salads, therefore fish pie seemed ideal (we also had to make amends for the fact that breakfast was slightly late as we broke down on the way down!). We prepped everything in the kitchen, then loaded up the car and drove up a bumpy track to the top of a quarry with the most amazing views to set up lunch, and we were thrilled to find the Fish pie went down a treat, most even came back for seconds For the best smoked fish we would suggest going to your local fishmonger – this is because their smoked fish will have been suspended in a smokehouse over smoldering wood shavings and the flavor is just amazing – whereas the majority of supermarket smoked fish has been made using the mechanical method which is generated through the use of smoke concentrates, as well as using artificial coloring (turning the fish yellow). On the whole we get our fish from either La Petite Poissoinneire in Primrose hill or Clarke and Parker on Muswell Hill Broadway that has just recently opened and has very good quality fresh fish (the honey smoked salmon from here is beyond delicious, making us hungry just thinking about it). We choose to use this mix of fish, but just use whatever you feel like and some people like to add prawns to their fish pie, we don’t as they always seem to go rubbery – cant find a way to keep them juicy, if you have any tips let us know! We way prefer using the new potatoes rather than a thick layer of mash, and its very good with the sage and cheese – and idea that came from a friend of ours Jane Lovett (author of Easy and Simple) who is an incredibly good cook, and recipes always work!


    Serves 6 – 8  

    1.5kg Smoked haddock, kippers and ‘hot smoked’ salmon. Skin and bones removed (don’t worry about the kipper bones too much), slightly break it up into chunks. 
    Large knob of butter
    4 bay leaves 
    3 leeks, sliced 
    4 garlic, finely chopped 
    2 fennel, sliced 
    2 tsp cayenne pepper 
    250ml white wine 
    2 tbsp Dijon mustard 
    1 lemon – zest and juice 
    250ml crème fraiche
    100g baby spinach 
    50g tarragon, remove the woody stalks, roughly chop the leaves 
    25g parsley, chopped 
    500g baby new potatoes 
    50 g toasted bread crumbs 
    100g grated gruyere
    25g sage finely chopped 
    25g chives, finely chopped 
    glug of olive oil
    Sea salt and black pepper 

    Oven proof dish 


1. Heat the oven to 180c. 2. Cut the potatoes in half. Bring a pot of water to the boil, add the potatoes and lightly boil for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through. Strain the potatoes then put back in the pan and leave to the side. 3. Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the leeks, garlic, bay leaves and fennel and sauté for a few minutes until starting to caramelize. Add the white wine and reduce, for a minute or so. 4. Add the cayenne pepper, mustard, spinach, tarragon and parsley, stir to combine and so the spinach starts to wilt. Then add the crème fraiche and take off the heat. 5. Shake the pan with the potatoes in it roughly, so the potatoes break up slightly. Add the breadcrumbs, cheese, sage, chives, olive oil, salt and pepper 6. Mix the fish into the crème fraiche mixture, carefully so not to break it up too much then place it all in the oven dish 7. Spoon the potato mixture on top and place in the oven for a good 15 – 20 mins, check that it is cooked through the center. Serve with a fresh, crunchy salad