Delicious Smoky Fish Pie With A Super Crunchy Crust – Ultimate Comfort for Cold Days

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Damn, it’s cold!

After the past mild winters, one could speak of a cold outbreak with the currently prevailing single-digit temperatures. Somehow, I’m not used to it anymore, despite having spent eight years in Helsinki. When I lie in bed at night, Tom always has to throw an additional blanket over my feet, for cycling, I have to put on my thermal pants, and I’ve been carrying gloves with me since the end of September. I just don’t like to freeze my bumm-bumm off, so what?!

One of the best reasons to cook hearty meals in winter. Warming you from the inside you get to happily collapse on the couch after dinner, preferably wrapped in a cozy blanket.
Currently hearty stews and savory casseroles are at the top of our weekly menus. Admittedly, they do need a bit more time to prepare but simply taste so good.

Recently, I made a smoked fish pie. A novelty in our kitchen. Fish pies, I learned myself, have a pretty old history. The legend goes that for the coronation of Henry I in the year 1100, chefs rolled a pastry hood over a lamprey pie. Thus, the ‘Fish Pie’ was born and is now an integral part of classic British cuisine.

By the way, lampreys resemble eels in their appearance and are strictly protected today – incidentally, they also look like they just stepped out of an X-Files episode.

When ordering a fish pie today, you’ll find the main character under a soft, cover of smooth mashed potato, often enhanced with cheese, onions, or leeks.

I decided to give this old classic a bit of a modern touch and bedded it under a crispy, golden-brown crust. This creates a wonderful contrast of textures when eating, the warm, soft, slightly liquid interior combined with the crispy crunch of the crust – simply divine!

To make the pie particularly flavorful, I combined fresh and smoked fish with leeks and mushrooms – talk about umami!

Add a nice glass of white wine, and winter can roar outside as much as it wants.

Hot Salmon Pie with Super-Crunch-Crust

A hearty smoked fish casserole, perfect for those cold winter days. Can easily be prepared with chicken or completely vegetarian also. See notes for alternatives!
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 6

Equipment

  • Oven convection with top and bottom heat, at 120°C
  • Strainer
  • Mid-sized pot
  • Microplane
  • Frying pan
  • Casserole dish

Ingredients
  

  • 2 Leeks
  • 250 g Small brown mushrooms
  • 200 g Fresh salmon skin off
  • 200 g Smoked salmon skin off
  • 500 ml Milk
  • 1 tbs Butter
  • 2 tbs Flour
  • 2 tbs Coarse-grain mustard
  • 1 Lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 Pinch Nutmeg
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 Splash Olive oil
  • 7 Sheets Yufka dough (Phyllo dough)
  • 3 tbs Butter for brushing

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 120°C with convection and top and bottom heat. Yufka dough is very delicate and burns quickly, so it should be handled with low heat.
  • Leeks:
    Trim both ends of the leeks, quarter them lengthwise, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Rinse the leeks thoroughly under cold running water and let drain well.
  • Mushrooms:
    Clean the mushrooms, trim any brown spots, leave small mushrooms whole, and dice larger ones into bite-sized pieces.
  • Fish:
    Skin the fish and check for bones – it's always unpleasant to find one in your food – then dice into bite-sized pieces.
  • Béchamel:
    Melt butter in a pot, sprinkle with flour, and quickly whisk it in. Pour in 1/4 of the milk, constantly whisking, pour in another 1/4, continue whisking. Add remaining milk. This prevents lumps from forming. Bring the béchamel to a boil, stirring constantly, and let it thicken. Immediately reduce the heat and let it simmer gently for about five minutes.
    Stir in the mustard, lemon zest, and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Taste and adjust the seasoning. This is the base for your casserole, so make sure it tastes good.
  • Filling:
    Heat olive oil in pan, sauté the leeks until they take on some color, season with salt and pepper. Repeat with mushrooms.
    Spread the sautéed leeks and mushrooms evenly in casserole dish, place the fish cubes on top of the vegetable bed.
    Cover with béchamel and gently fold everything in.
  • Crust:
    Melt 3 tablespoons of butter. Cover the casserole with one sheet of Yufka dough, brush it with melted butter. Scrunch the next sheet of Yufka dough with your hands like an accordion and place it on the casserole. Proceed with the remaining sheets until the casserole is completely covered. Gently brush with butter and sprinkle evenly with salt.
  • Finish:
    Bake the casserole in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, turning the casserole once and checking regularly to ensure it browns evenly.
    That's it. Enjoy your meal!
Keyword Bakery

Don’t like salmon?
The salmon can easily substituted with any kind of fish, I do always recommend to use part smoked fish for the taste though. You can also add in mussels and clams.
Don’t feel like fish or seafood? Substitute fish with rotisserie chicken meat!  
No meat – at all!
Simply add in your favorite veg! Potatoes, carrots, and peas go very nicely, would just recommend to pre-cook potatoes as well as carrots until tender before hand.

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