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Food on Friday with Paul Clerehugh

Paul Clerehugh tells you how to cook fish pie and chocolate nemesis with salty caramel sauce. All the recipes are available for you below.

Release date:

3 hours

Last on

Fri 17 Jan 2014 13:00

Fish pie

Fish pie has a place in most of our hearts. Chunks of fish, creamy sauce under a crusted surface of nicely browned mashed potato…at least that’s how it should be. However, all too often this quintessential comfort dish fails to tick all the boxes. Stingy quantities of inferior fish floating in thin, watery sauce with lumped potato. 


Sometimes there is too much going on in the pie – too many varieties of fish – fighting for attention – best to keep the selection to two or three fish and a few best quality prawns. Make sure there are no bones – bones ruin the most carefully made fish pie.



Traditionally béchamel sauce forms the base of the creamy fish pie sauce – which can be heavy and floury. I use crème fraîche, which besides being a cheaty timesaving idea, is also nice and light.


  Fish Pie – serves 6


  • 250g large, peeled cocktail prawns – best if you buy 400g “shell on” prawns and peel them yourself

  • 350g cod fillet, skinned and boned. Substitute for another chunky white fish if you like – halibut, brill, Pollock, sea bass

  • 350g smoked haddock, skinned. Buy the natural smoked variety – not that “glow in the dark” dried orange stuff

  • 350g salmon fillet, skinned and boned. The organic variety is best.

  • Handful chopped flat leaf parsley

  • 750ml crème fraîche

  • 50ml dry white wine

  • Malden salt, freshly ground white pepper

  • 12 pencil leeks, trimmed and poached but still with a crunch

  • 200g grated gruyere cheese


For the mash:

  • 1.5kg floury potatoes, peeled

  • 150g butter

  • Malden salt, freshly ground white pepper


  Cooking the mash



You’ll need a floury variety for perfect mash, I have always found that Maris Piper are easily obtained and mash or puree very well.



Peel and cut the potatoes into 3cm cubes, boil in salted water until cooked, but not overcooked – for about 15-20 minutes. Drain off all the water and replace the lid. Shake the pan vigorously, which will start to break the potatoes up. Add the butter a little at a time while mashing. Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. The potatoes will now be light, fluffy and ready for topping the fish pie with.


  For the fish pie



Cut the cod, smoked haddock and salmon into 2cm cubes. Preheat an oven to 200°C/Gas 5.



Find a large ovenproof casserole dish – about 1.5 litres in volume. Mix together the crème fraîche, flat leaf parsley, dry white wine, salt and white pepper – use the oven proof dish to do the mixing in.



Evenly place the cubed fish mixture in the crème fraîche mixture. Fold in the prawns. Place a sheet of greaseproof paper over the fish and crème fraîche and place in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.


Thereafter, remove from the oven and neatly, evenly lay the baby leeks on top of the bubbling fish pie mixture. Sprinkle grated Gruyere over the leeks. Pipe or spoon on the hot mashed potato and return to the oven for a further 15-20 minutes until the potatoes have browned.


Remove and serve.

Chocolate nemesis

675g very dark chocolate, 70% or more

10 eggs

500g caster

450g unsalted butter, softened


Beat the eggs with a third of the sugar until the mix quadruples in volume (probably 10 minutes or so in a mixer).


Dissolve the rest of the sugar in 250ml water. Add the chocolate & butter to the syrup & stir to combine. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly.


Add the warm syrup to the egg mix & beat until combined. Be gentle. Do not over mix or it goes to solid.


Pour into a cake tin & cook in bain-marie of hot water at 160°C for 30 minutes or until just set.

Salty caramel sauce



300ml pot double cream

85g butter, diced

100g light muscovado sugar

½-1 tsp sea salt flakes




Put the cream, butter and sugar in a saucepan. Melt together, then bubble, stirring, until caramel-coloured and saucy. Add salt to taste.