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Margaret Stout’s ingenious salt cod pie

A simple dish as befits Shetland and Orcadian tradition, this is the only recipe for pie we have found that uses bread sauce as the base for its filling, a brilliant idea we feel foolish for failing to have foreseen. Stout, however, fails to provide her reader with a recipe for bread or any other sauce, so we have posted ours on the homepage in the practical to complement her laconic recipe. You will want to soak the salt cod overnight in several changes of cold water.

  • 1 lb salt cod, soaked and drainedcod-fish002.gif
  • 20 oz bread sauce
  • heaped teaspoon dry mustard (like Colman’s)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
  • pepper
  • puff pastry or mashed potato to top the pie

Preheat the oven to 400˚.

  1. Simmer the fish until little ravines just begin to appear, then remove the fish from its liquid, let it cool and separate it into neat flakes.
  2. Add the bread sauce, mustard, parsley and pepper to the fish and place the filling in a pie pan or oven dish.
  3. Bake the pie until the topping turns a deep gold, usually in about 25-30 minutes.



-Stout doubtless would have found our bread sauce, with its whisky and spice, unacceptably extravagant. If you want to undergo the Workhouse Experience, omit those fripperies.

-Potato topping is traditional for most British fish pies but we do prefer pastry for this one.

-The basic pie may absorb many variations. If you are benighted and dislike salt cod, use fresh, but then you might want to add a little heft to the flavor of the filling by throwing in some seared mushroom slices, peas or little shrimp. All good additions, none authentically Shetland or Orcadian.