Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ramsay's Fish Pie

There was a "buy 3 get 1 free" at the local bookstore which means that I've stacked up on cookbooks. These include Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Heaven. The cookbook part of the Kitchen Nightmares television series, the book is part recipes and part restaurant how-to book. Though his directions on how to run a successful restaurant could be more elaborated and could be the subject of a whole book, the recipes are really inspiring. The recipes are light and savoury without relying too much on the traditional butter and cream of, say, the French. Plus the photos of Ramsay in the book pretty much all show his smiling or working alongside his staff...quite a change from the bulldog faced Ramsay we see on TV.

As far as the fish pie goes, I had the option of trying Ramsay's recipe or Trish Hilferty's recipe from Gastropub Classics. Ramsay had less ingredients so I opted for his. The result was a rich and satisfying dish with very familiar flavours in a new presentation.

For those who are like me and have no idea what fish pie is, let me put it to you this way: a fish chowder with the potatoes mashed and spooned on top in cottage pie fashion. In other words, it's like the lovechild of a fish chowder and a cottage pie. The fish is in a cream and vermouth sauce just like any good chowder. The potatoes are velvety and full of butter. All in all, this is a great recipe. But I'm not going to copy it here. I wouldn't want the wrath of Ramsay visited upon me. Suffice it to say that you can make a fish cream sauce with sweated shallots, white wine, Noilly Prat vermouth, fish stock, and double cream. Use your fish of choice (I had turbot and Boston blue fish though I would try to have a white fleshed fish, a rich fish like salmon and an oily fish next time...just to cover the whole fish spectrum) along with a splash of lemon juice, tarragon and parsley. You then prepare mashed potatoes, spoon on top and bake for 20 minutes. See, I didn't give the recipe. But any good cook would know what to do. This dish is highly recommended especially if you've got fresh fish lying around.

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