The addition of hard boiled eggs is characteristically British, the addition of oatmeal to the pastry characteristically Scottish. A pie for four.
For the filling:
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 10 oz milk
- about 1½ lb non-oily white fish (cod, haddock…. ) cut into chunks about an inch square
- about ¼ teaspoon cayenne
- 2 Tablespoons chopped chives or scallion greens
- heaped Tablespoon chopped parsley
- 2 chopped hard boiled eggs
For the crust:
- 4 oz flour
- 2 oz quick oatmeal
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter cut into small chunks
- icewater to bind
- a beaten egg
- about ½ cup steel cut oats
- Melt the butter in a heavy skillet, whisk in the flour to form a paste and slowly whisk the milk into the roux.
- Bring the sauce to a boil, turn off the heat and add the fish, cayenne, chives, parsley and egg, then add a little salt.
- Dump the filling into a buttered pie dish and let it cool.
Preheat the oven to 350°.
- Make the pastry by mixing the flour and quick oats with the salt, then knead the butter into the dry ingredients.
- Once the mixture assumes the consistency of coarse cornmeal flecked with oats, drizzle barely enough icewater into the mix to form a thick paste that barely adheres.
Assemble the pie:
- Roll out the pastry on a board filmed with flour, drape it over the filling and, trim the overhang and crimp the perimeter by pressing it with a fork at right angles to the rim.
- Paint the pastry with the beaten egg, scatter the steel cut oats across the disc and cut a hole on the center.
- Bake the pie until the crust turns pale gold, usually in about 25 minutes.
-Take care not to overbake the pie or the fish will become… fishy.
-It would be considerably easier to make the pastry by pulsing the butter with the dry ingredients and then adding the water in pulses as well using a food processor at Steps 4 and 5. The drawback? You will lose the coarser consistency of the quick oats within the crust. Costs and benefits compete.
-The addition of mace to fish pies is not unknown. If you like, add ¼ teaspoon with the cayenne at Step 2.
-Smallish shrimp add bounce and, once again, are traditionally included in a number of British fish pie recipes. Substitute about ½ lb raw shelled shrimp for ½ lb of the fish.
-You can make a simpler, English version of the pie by topping it with your favorite recipe for mashed potato.