Today it clouded over for the first time in weeks. It’s too dark to do barn chores after 7PM. I think that perhaps autumn is actually arriving. This dish is a wonderful comfort meal. The heartiness of the potato crust with the tender, flaky fish, along with fresh spinach, and a lovely cream sauce, is also accompanied by imbedded hard-boiled eggs. I must admit, I thought about it for many months before I made it. Everyone who has been served it since has virtually licked their plate clean. So, after a long day tidying up your garden ready for the winter that will eventually come, enjoy this with a simple side dish of baby peas or green beans. The onions and carrots could be chopped ahead of time, and the eggs and spinach could be cooked ahead & refrigerated, even by a day, and brought out to come to room temperature before assembly.
Click here for printable version.
1 lb / 500 gr sustainable white fish – for this version, I used Wild Pacific Cod – skin removed, all bones removed, and sliced into strips6 large potatoes – peeled and cut into 1” pieces
salt & pepper
olive oil (two uses)
2 eggs5 – 6 oz of fresh spinach – two big handfuls or half a 10 oz bag or, in a pinch, you could use half a 10 oz box of frozen, thawed & drained
1 onion – finely chopped1 carrot – peeled, and finely chopped
5 – 6 oz of grated sharp cheddar – about two handfulsjuice of 1 lemon
1 heaped teaspoon of dry mustard, or you could use prepared English mustard1 large handful of chopped parsley – about ½ c prepared
Cook the potatoes in salted water until fork tender. Drain, and dry.
Mash the potatoes with some olive oil (about 2 T) and season with salt, pepper & nutmeg. Reserve. Cook the eggs in simmering water for 11 minutes. Remove to a bowl of cold water. When cool enough to handle, peel and cut each egg into long quarters. Reserve.
Steam the spinach until just cooked – it doesn’t need to be dark and mushy – drain, and squeeze out any extra juices. Reserve.
Heat 2 T of olive oil in a large skillet.
Add in the onions and carrots.Cook over a medium-low heat for about 7 minutes, until the onions are clear and the carrots have softened. Try not to brown the vegetables.
Pour in the cream, stirring gently until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat.Add in the cheese, mustard, parsley and lemon juice. Stir until well incorporated and the cheese has melted.
Preheat oven to 425°
Lightly oil or butter a 9” x 12” oval baking dish with deep sides. A 9” x 13” dish would work as well, just be sure it’s deep enough, about 3”.
Arrange the spinach over the bottom of the dish.
Arrange the fish pieces over the spinach.
Arrange the egg pieces over the fish.
Pour the cream sauce over all, smoothing with a spatula to help it fill in any holes.Spoon the mashed potatoes over the cream sauce.
Spread the potatoes to cover right to the edges.
Using a fork, draw lines through the potatoes.Bake in the 425° oven for 40 minutes until the potatoes are golden and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.
Let sit for about 10 minutes before serving.
~ If you want to have some fun – after the potatoes have cooked for 5 minutes, nestle the eggs into them for 11 minutes. While they’re cooking, put a strainer over the pot, cover it all, and steam the spinach for a few minutes. It works!~ If you want to use red potatoes, just use about 2# and prepare them with their skins on – it makes for a nice red-laced crust.
I found the original in BBC Good Food several years ago and if I remember right, it came from Jamie Oliver, who is so darn cute!