Winter is fast descending upon us Down Under and as much as I love the cold weather, I find what makes winter special is the food that comes out from our kitchen.
Having a toasty oven baking away is a good way to warm up your home but nobody would deny the aromas of a hearty stew or perhaps a Sunday leg lamb roast would whet the appetite and make dinner all the more enticing.
Ever since we sampled the signature snapper pie at Sydney’s iconic restaurant Boathouse on Black Wattle Bay in Glebe, Mysaucepan has been wanting to replicate this dish at home.
What has made this Sydney snapper pie the talk of the town is the aromas of truffle when the pie is cut opened and served by wait staff at your table.
Pairing it with the smoothest and creamiest of mashed potato and a smoked and skinned half of a tomato has made this dish truly unforgettable and a real winner.
Sydney has been hit by a cold spell in the past few days and a lazy Sunday afternoon has got Mysaucepan contemplating this pie again.
A fish pie is not my preferred favourite as I would prefer a hearty beef or lamb shank stew in winter.
However, I will gladly make an exception for a fish pie if it is cooked in the tradition of THE snapper pie at Boathouse.
The aromas of truffle can be beautifully intoxicating in the right amounts and I find myself inhaling the rich and earthy aromas of white truffle oil. Truly, I would suggest you don’t even think about cooking this recipe without this little bottle of magic potion.
We look up a few fish pie recipes online but decide to come up with our own although we are referring to other recipes as a guide. One key ingredient that we decide to add on is fennel which comes into season around autumn and continues throughout winter.
I love fennel for its aniseed flavour and when thinly sliced and paired with orange, it becomes a classic and wonderful salad.
Instead of snapper, we decide to use ling fish fillets which is one of my favourite white fish meats apart from perch, monk fish or hapuka.
As much as I love salmon and ocean trout, I personally prefer fish pie to be a chunky white fish rather than a flaky texture.
The flavours of thyme work wonderfully in this recipe because it complement the flavours of the truffle oil so well.
Mysaucepan starts by sweating the thinly sliced leek, onion and fennel in a large wok with some butter and extra virgin olive oil until the vegetables are fragrant and transluscent.
Then, turn the heat down to low and pour in light cream, white wine and stir in a few teaspoons of corn flour.
Most recipes use heavy cream but we prefer light cream because it is healthier and the corn flour is a good way to adjust and thicken up the mixture to the level that you prefer.
The ling fillets and mushrooms are delicate ingredients and do not require as much cooking time and only needs to be baked in the oven. The fennel fronds have wonderful aniseed aromas and add a little colour to the pie.
Once the leek, fennel and onion mixture is cooled, ladle it over the ling and mushroom to a level that covers the fish completely and sprinkle some salt and black pepper to season.
And here comes the magic potion - drizzle a couple of teaspoons of the white truffle oil into the baking bowls before covering them with puff pastry brushed with egg wash.
Then bake the pies in a 200 degree Celsius oven for approximately thirty minutes until the pastry turns golden brown.
The aromas of pastry and truffle is tempting enough let alone tasting this wonderful fish pie.
So here is our recipe for Truffle flavoured Ling Fish Pie.
Truffle flavoured Ling Fish Pie
- 1 large brown onion, thinly sliced
- 1 leek, thinly sliced crosswise
- 1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced and reserve the fennel fronds
- 10 button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- Half cup of peas (optional)
- 800 gm – 1 kg of ling fillet or (chunky white flesh fish of your choice) cut into bite-size pieces
- 3 – 4 teaspoons of white truffle oil
- 1 egg, beaten for egg wash to brush onto pastry
- 4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 5 sprigs of thyme
- 1 cup of lite cream
- 2 small knobs of butter
- 1 cup of dry white wine
- Half cup water
- Corn flour to thicken mixture to your preference
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Sautee onion, leek and fennel in a large cooking pan on medium heat with butter and 4 tablespoon of EVOO until it is fragrant and transluscent.
- Turn down the heat and pour in lite cream, white wine and add the thyme to the mixture.
- If the mixture is too thick or insufficient, add a little water. Add 1 – 2 teaspoon of corn flour, stirring continuously to thicken the sauce to your liking.
- Arrange the fish fillets, button mushrooms and fennel frond in baking bowls.
- When the onion, leek and fennel mixture is cooled slightly, ladle this mixture into the baking bowls until they cover the fish fillets completely.
- Cover the baking bowls with puff pastry and brush the pastry with the egg wash.
- Place the pies in a hot oven at 200 degrees Celsius and bake until the pastry is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and serve immediately.
- This fish pie is predicated on the distinctive aromas of truffles. If you dislike truffle flavours, you may omit the truffle oil.
- Use chunky white flesh fish over flaky fish textures such as salmon.
- Do not overcook the onion, leek and fennel as they still need to go into the oven. The vegetables just need to be slightly soft before turning down the heat.
- Gradually add the corn flour to a slightly cooled mixture and kepp stirring to get to your preferred thickness of the sauce.
- The truffle oil can be quite intense so use it sparingly. If insufficient, you can always add a few more drops of the truffle oil to the sauce after the pies are baked.
Serves: Approximately 4 large size pies.
The soft chunky fish meat is delicious with the creamy sauce. Although peas are optional, they add a bit of “hominess” and retro feel to this pie.
Of course, the unmistakable flavours of truffle oil makes this pie distinctively different and better than the average fish pie.
Pair this truffle flavoured ling fish pie with a chilled and oaky chardonnay, why would anyone not enjoy winter would be beyond me.
So dear readers, what is your favourite winter dish and why?