cinty’s french fish pie

Lindsey Bareham

Cinty is the sister of a friend and her pie is as good for one as it is for a dinner party. Leeks or fennel are stewed in butter with white wine then fillets of white fish – haddock, cod, carefully boned hake, brill or lemon sole all work well – laid over the top and hidden under crème fraiche. My contribution is a gratinee topping to give crunch to every mouthful.

serves 4; prep: 15 mins; cook: 40 mins

4 fillets haddock loin
800g trimmed fennel or leek
40g butter
150ml dry white wine
300ml crème fraiche
100g fresh breadcrumbs
5 tbsp finely grated Parmesan

Halve trimmed fennel or leek lengthways and slice in thin half moons. Rinse and drain the leeks. Heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6.

Melt the butter in a spacious lidded sauté or frying pan, stir in the fennel or leeks, season with salt and pepper, cover and cook for 8-15 minutes, giving the occasional stir, or until tender.

Add the wine and simmer briskly, uncovered, until juicy not wet. Tip into a gratin style dish that can hold the fish in a single layer.

Pat the fish dry and line up over the top. Cover with a thick layer of crème fraiche. Dredge with breadcrumbs mixed with Parmesan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the crust is crisp and golden and the fish cooked through.