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Billingsgate Stargazy pie

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Not only does this pie have amazing visual impact, it has a fantastic story behind it, I will not tell it here, but I strongly recommend you research it to tell you fellow diners when you serve up this delight! The classic recipe uses pilchards but I like to base mine on whatever I can get at Billingsgate that morning ensuring the best of the day’s fish is going into my pie.

Serves 4

  • 30g butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 rashers smoked bacon – cut into 1cm lengths
  • 30g plain flour
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 200ml fish stock
  • 250ml double cream
  • ½ bunch chopped parsley
  • 2 eggs, hard boiled and grated
  • 1 table spoon English mustard
  • 100g smoked haddock
  • 100g salmon fillet
  • 100g whiting fillet
  • 2 small mackerel – filleted, heads and tails reserved for the top of the pie
  • 1 sheet of ready rolled puff pastry
  • 1 whole langoustine – blanched for 2 minutes and chilled

Heat the butter in a medium pan and gently cook the onion and bacon until soft. Add the flour and stir well, then slowly add the wine and fish stock, stirring well to prevent lumps forming. Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add the cream, bring back to the boil and simmer until reduced by half and thickened.

Remove from the heat; add the parsley and chopped egg and mustard, then season with salt and pepper and leave to cool.

Cut smoked haddock, salmon and whiting in 2cm dice or as near to as the size of the fish will allow and lay the diced fish and mackerel fillets in a shallow pie or flan dish, then lightly season with salt and pepper.

Pour the sauce over the fish. Lay the pastry over the dish and trim it to size.

Make four small slits in the pastry and push the reserved fish heads and tails through them. Then make one more hole in the centre of the pie and slide the langoustine in tail first so it look as though it is climbing out of the pie!

Brush the top with the beaten egg. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 200°C, until the pastry is golden and risen.

©James Lyon-Shaw, Executive Chef at the ETM Group.

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