Fish pies, traditional and otherwise, are a varied lot. There are elegant lobster pot pies, frozen fish pies from the supermarket, and "stargazey" pies with rings of cold eyed fish faces to challenge even the hungriest diners.( You can see a scary picture of one, below.) This fish pie is none of these. It is humble, but not entirely so, because, at least in my book, nothing with shrimps in it can be counted as ordinary. Still, frozen shrimps have become very reasonable, and these days I usually have a 2 lb bag in the freezer that I can dip into at will.
I made a fish pie because I had some leftover mashed potatoes, a frozen tilapia fillet, and those shrimps, and because if I had another meal of leftover brisket, in any incarnation, I was going to be too bored to lift my fork. So I put the rest of the meat in the freezer, and constructed this nursery-ish dinner, and it all worked out quite well. It is not very demanding, if you happen to have the makings around, and it is a tasty, comforting treat. In my view, it should be served very steamingly, scaldingly hot, and eaten with a spoon. Actually, it's great stuff.
a fish filet, about 1/4 lb. (I used frozen tilapia)
8-10 good sized shrimps, peeled, deveined, and cut in chunks
handful mushrooms, cut in quarters
1/2 cup fennel bulb, chopped
carrots, peeled and sliced thinly
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsps butter
2 tbsps flour
a bay leaf
freshly grated nutmeg
enough mashed potatoes to generouslycover your 2 serving crocks
small amount panko (opt)
fresh grated parmesan or gruyere
Put all the ingredients, up to and including the milk in a small pan. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer until the fish and shrimp are just done.
With a slotted spoon, move shrimp and fish and veg to the 2 crocks, flaking the fish into chunks. Heat the butter in a clean pan, whisk in flour, and add the hot milk, whisking to make it smooth. Cook over a medium heat, whisking, until it is nice and thick. Season with salt, pepper, and plenty of grated nutmeg.
Pour over crocks, leaving space at the top for the potato topping. spread potatoes over neatly, sealing the edges well. sprinkle with paprika, panko (if desired), and a bit of grated cheese. Bake until top is browned, and filling begins to bubble. (Varies wildly with size of baking dish, mine took 1/2 hour.)
The stargazey pie photo is from a UK Website called About Food. There is a -yikes-recipe. You probably don't want to know why the fish heads are arranged that way, but if you do, you can find out there.