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Frugal Fish Pie

publication date: Mar 21, 2008
author/source: Fiona Beckett
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Good Friday is traditionally a day for eating fish so here’s an economical and tasty fish pie to try. You might be surprised at that because it looks as if the ingredients might be expensive but if you look at my recent blog post you’ll see that it needn’t cost too much at all

Serves 4-5
Time: About an hour (1/2 an hour's preparation, 1/2 an hour's final cooking time)
Cost: £1 - £1.25 a head

500g frozen white fish (from e.g. Sainsbury’s ‘Basics’ range)
150g basic frozen peeled prawns (Ditto. Small ones are cheaper than big ones)
600ml semi-skimmed milk
40g butter
40g plain flour
2 tbsp chopped parsley if you have some
Salt, ground black pepper and a good squeeze/squirt of lemon juice

For the potato topping
750g potatoes, cut into even-sized pieces
15g butter
50-60ml warm milk
Salt and pepper

Cut the fillets into pieces that will fit into a medium to large saucepan (if frozen rock hard leave for 15 minutes or so before you attempt this. It's generally easier with kitchen scissors than with a knife.)  Lay them in the pan skin side up (if they still have a skin. Otherwise either side) Bring slowly to the boil then turn the heat right down and simmer for 3-5 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fillets) Remove the fish with a fish slice and strain the milk into a measuring jug.

Melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for a few seconds. Take the pan off the heat and tip about two thirds of the hot strained milk into the flour, all in one go, whisking continually. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down and leave to simmer, adding a little more of the reserved milk if the sauce seems too thick. Season with pepper and a little salt.

Remove any skin from the fish and flake it into largeish chunks, carefully removing any bones. Tip the fish and prawns into the sauce and fold in the parsley. Check the seasoning adding lemon juice and extra salt and pepper to taste and tip into a shallow pie dish or baking dish.

While you’re assembling the pie put the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Cook for about 20 minutes until you can stick the point of a knife in them easily. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pan and cut them up roughly with a knife. Mash them thoroughly with a potato masher or fork. Beat in the butter and warm milk. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the potato evenly over the top of the fish roughing up the surface with the prongs of a fork. Bake in a hot oven (200° C/400°F/Gas 6) for about 20-25 minutes until the fishy base is bubbling and the top is nicely browned.


  • You can make this pie ahead and refrigerate it in which case it'll need a longer cooking time.
  • You could substitute a couple of quartered or chopped hard-boiled eggs for the prawns. Or add them as well.



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