Hot-Smoked Salmon Pie

This would be my choice for Christmas Eve supper – done and dusted in the morning, or even the day before, then just whisked out of the fridge and into the oven. Fresh, shelled, imported peas involve no work and make an excellent accompaniment, as does stem broccoli with a generous sprinkling of Parmesan cheese.

Serves 4

This recipe is from Delia's Happy Christmas

Hot-Smoked Salmon Pie
 2 x 160g packs hot-smoked salmon fillets
 2 hard boiled eggs, peeled and roughly chopped (see recipe below)
For the Topping:
 600g Desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into even-sized chunks
 1 teaspoon salt
 40g butter
 2 tablespoons milk
 1 tablespoon creme fraiche
 25g Gruyere grated
 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
For the Sauce:
 275ml milk
 20g butter
 20g plain flour
 cayenne pepper
 25g grated Cheddar
 1 tablespoon lemon juice
 2 tablespoons creme fraiche
 whole nutmeg for grating
 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
 1 tablespoon capers rinsed in cold water and patted dry
 6 cornichons, roughly chopped
 Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 400ºF (200ºC).
EQUIPMENT: You will also need an 18cm square baking dish or similar and an electric whisk


First steam the potatoes sprinkled with 1 teaspoon of salt for about 25 minutes, until they are absolutely tender, then drain off the water and return them to the saucepan and cover with a clean tea towel for 4 minutes.

Then add the butter, mik and creme fraiche and use an electric hand whisk on slow to break up the potatoes and then increase it to high and whip them up to a smooth, creamy, fluffy mass, then add some seasoning.

Meanwhile make the sauce; place the first four ingredients into a small saucepan, set it over a gently heat.  Whisk continually until you have a smooth glossy sauce and simmer very gently for 5 minutes.  Then add the rest of the ingredients.  Whisk again and season.

Now preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6

Next, take the skin off the salmon, break the fish into largish pieces directly into the dish then tuck the egg in among them.  Pour the sauce over the salmon. 

Now spoon blobs of mashed potato, using a palette knife to spread it evenly over the surface and then make some indentations to form a pattern.

Just run the palette knife in lines, pressing it down at 2.5 cm intervals.

Sprinkle the 2 cheeses all over the surface of the potato, then place the dish on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes, or until the surface is golden brown and the sauce underneath is bubbling.

Leave the pie to settle for 10 minutes out of the oven while you cook the vegetables to go with it.

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