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We recently found a little old seafood cook book from an unknown vintage -possibly 1930's?- which the husband (a keen fisherman) was eager to try out.  However looking through the recipes, I wasn't convinced.  Bearing in mind, the majority of them call for tinned fish (the book is produced by a canned fish company) but when something starts off with the words, 'Open a can of salmon...' I must admit, I stop reading. 

I guess I have been very spoilt growing up in a beautiful island country surrounded by water.  We have always had access (whether through family and friends or the local fish and chip shop) to fantastic fresh fish and seafood [more about this in a later post].  Because their dad is a fisherman/diver, my kids have grown up loving fresh fish and we usually make our own crumbed fish bites when he comes home with a haul...[personally though, I sometimes think my kids would even eat a fried dish sponge as it is the frying that is possibly the key?!].

So it was with trepidation that I decided to try one of the recipes in the book the other night.  This is a book I might add, with such culinary delights as Boiled Mackerel ['Put it on to boil in cold water, with white potatoes, and boil gently for thirty minutes'} and Salmon with Peas ['Heat the can of salmon in boiling water twenty minutes.  Open the can on the side near the top and turn the fish carefully onto the platter from which it is to be served.  Surround the salmon with peas, which have been heated and seasoned.  Serve with white sauce.']...!!  Not to mention the rather dubious sounding Sea Moss Chocolate Jelly ??!

However, the book is delightful and very comprehensive...who knew there were so many ways with tinned fish?  So I have slightly adapted their recipe for Fresh Cod Fish Baked with Cheese with an old family fish pie recipe.

Best Fish Pie

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This is ideal if you can get hold of smoked fish - if not, use the freshest and best fillets you can find.

2 - 3 fillets firm fish eg cod, snapper, tilapia and 1 fillet fresh salmon
4 potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed

3 eggs - hard boiled and chopped
1 large gherkin(pickle) chopped
1 Tbspn capers
large handful parsley chopped 
salt and pepper
1 - 1 1/2 cups milk
1 Tbspn butter
1 Tbspn flour
1 bay leaf
Chop fish into bite sized chunks and place in a frypan.  
Cover with milk, bay leaf, salt and pepper and simmer 5 minutes.  Remove bay leaf, place fish pieces in casserole dish and set cooking milk aside to make white sauce.
Add egg, gherkins and capers to dish.
 
SAUCE
Melt butter and cook through flour to make a roux, slowly add poaching milk, stirring til a smooth, thick consistency.  Season to taste. Stir in chopped parsley.  Pour sauce over fish, eggs and gherkins.
Top dish with mashed potato and bake in medium oven for 15 - 20 mins.  Finish under broiler briefly to brown top (5 mins max!).

NOTE:  If using smoked fish, flake cooked fish carefully into a casserole dish and omit the 'poaching in milk' step - instead just make up white sauce and pour over as above.