Fish Pie – now there’s a classic British dish!
In the UK, you usually use a smoked fish, like smoked haddock, but it’s difficult to get smoked fish in Japan so I use himono instead – dried fish, one of the most popular ways of preserving fish in Japan.
There are several methods used to preserve fish in Japan – himono is dried fish, or you can preserve it in miso, or with the lees from sake (kasu).
Traditionally in Japan, at New Year we give gifts to people who have helped us over the year – called oseibo. One of the most common gifts is miso preserved fish. There are lots of different ways to preserve with miso, but I like white miso preserved fish best. That gave me the idea for this fish pie, and I added some white miso to the sauce.
Miso is one of the prides of Japanese food – the enzymes in the koji used to make miso break down the protein and the amino acids produce umami – and all that is what makes it so delicious!
So, here’s a classic British fish pie, with a traditional Japanese twist!
- 200 g cod fillet (bones and skin removed)
- 1 smoked haddock (in Japan you can use hokke or similar sun-dried fish)
- 1 onion
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 a lemon
- 30g butter
- 4 tablespoons of flour
- 3 tablespoons white miso
- a handful of parsley
- (for the mashed potatoes)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- a dash of milk
- cheddar or similar cheese
1. If you are using hokke or a Japanese dried fish, fry it first and remove the skin and bones.
2. Place the cod and haddock (or hokke) in a frying pan, add the white wine, milk, juice from the lemon and 10g of butter, salt and pepper, cover with a lid and steam fry. Take off the heat when the fish has cooked.
3. Place only the fish from above in a buttered, heat-proof dish. Keep the sauce for later.
4. Put 20g of butter in a different pan on a low heat, and soften the sliced onion.
5. Add the flour to the onions and gently fry, stirring so mixes evenly, then add the sauce from your fish, white miso and mustard powder mixing on a low heat so that it doesn’t become lumpy. (If the sauce is a bit too thick you can add a dash of milk to reduce it)
6. Add chopped parsley to the sauce and pour over the fish.
7. Boil the potatoes till they are soft, pour off the water and mash with butter and milk. If you like your mashed potatoes soft, you can finish them off with a whisk.
8. Cover the fish and sauce evenly with the mashed potato, and use a fork to ensure it is firmly against the sides and corners, and to make a wave pattern on the top. You can also sprinkle the top with cheese if you like.
9. Put in a 180C oven for 30 mins, until the top turns a golden brown.