Have you ever tried Colcannon? My oh my – this is comfort food at its finest. I’ll admit I’m not a huge mash potato lover, because well, baby food. But whichever Irish mammy invented Colcannon over the years solved this problem. It has delicious texture with kale or cabbage mixed right in. I put spring onions in mine, too, which is like a Colcannon/Champ cross.
I’d say this is about as Irish as you can get! My eldest little boy was born on St Patrick’s Day. What a lucky guy, to have a great birthday like that! I think he is probably going to have some wonderful celebrations throughout his lifetime.
I want to explain the way this recipe is written, and the way I cook and try to approach all recipes. This is loose – no specifics are required here. Use the fish you like and what you can find or have in your freezer, and what’s on offer (that’s what I do!) Don’t worry about using a leek if you don’t have one for the sauce – use onion instead, or whatever veggies you have that you’d like to put in. Fish Pie is that kind of dish. Its not fussy. I can almost guarantee your kiddies will love it, though. Most do! If you want to make it more luxurious, though, add a big splash of white wine or Noilly Prat to the sauce as the leeks cook and let it reduce down by 2/3 before adding the flour for your roux.
I almost always like to use a combination of smoked fish and normal fish. I also like a combination of salmon and white fish. Prawns/shrimp are also very tasty in this recipe! And the more texture in fish pie, the better. So along with the fish add some extra veggies/greens or maybe some peeled soft boiled quails eggs – they are really neat in fish pie.
After you make your Colcannon, dollop it over the pie around the edges, then smooth to the middle to join so that there aren’t any big gaps. Then, take a fork and fluff some edges up everywhere. This will create lovely crunchy bits! Try and keep the potato as high as possible, as it will sink down into the pie a little anyway. Then add a scattering of grated cheese over the top. Again use what you have! I did a mixture of cheddar and parmesan.
Check out these other great Irish influenced dishes: Garlic and Rosemary Loin of Lamb with Cannellini Bean Puree, Smoked Trout Pate, Beautiful Salmon Fishcakes, Lemon Posset with Lemon Shortbread dippers.
Here is your recipe for Colcannon Fish Pie:
- 1 kg / 1.5 lb potatoes, peeled
- 3 spring onions, finely chopped
- 2 cups kale or cabbage, chopped
- 2 tbsp butter
- ¼ nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 500g/1lb mixed fish
- 1 cup fish stock
- 1½ cups milk
- ½ cup wine or Noilly Prat
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- zest of ½ lemon
- 1 heaped tsp dijon or grainy mustard
- 1 leek, sliced thinly
- 4-5 tbsp grated cheese
- Boil the potatoes in a pot of salted water for 20 minutes or until really soft. Drain and immediately add the butter. Mash (or mix thoroughly in a food processor). Season to taste. Grate the nutmeg in.
- If using cabbage or course kale, soften in a little butter or oil for 5 minutes.
- Fold together the potato, kale and spring onion. Set aside.
- heat the oven to 200C/400F. In a pot, sweat the leek in the butter for 10 minutes until soft. Add the wine (if using) and reduce by ⅔. Add the flour, stir to incorporate and then drizzle in the milk and stock. Stir often and cook on a low simmer for about 10 minutes. Along the way, add the lemon zest, juice and mustard.
- Trim the fish of any skin and bones and cut into large chunks. In a casserole dish, place the fish around the bottom. Top with the sauce.
- Spoon the Colcannon on top in several dollops, and then spread them out a little to connect them together so they cover the pie. Use a fork to then fluff up edges and make lines everywhere. Aim to keep the mash as high as possible. Sprinkle the cheese over the top.
- Cook in the oven for 45 minutes. Make sure to allow at least 20 minutes to cool before serving!
Aim for the mash to be on the dry side: this will result in crunchier topping.
I like to use 1 large fillet of smoked fish, 1 large fillet of fresh white fish and 1 large fillet of fresh salmon.
Wine is optional - add more stock or milk if you need to loosed the sauce.