Smoky fish bake
- 750g potatoes, cooked and peeled
- 200g skinless and boneless smoked haddock fillet
- a handful of chopped parsley
- a handful of grated mature cheese, such as Gruyère, Comté or mature cheddar
For the béchamel sauce:
- 25g butter
- 25g plain flour
- 500ml lukewarm milk, plus extra to thin the sauce if needed
- ¼ onion, skin removed
- 1 clove
- 1 bay leaf
- a pinch of ground nutmeg
Assemble to the end of step 5 up to 2 hrs ahead; chill.
Start by making the béchamel sauce. Melt the butter in a medium pan over a medium heat. Add the flour and beat hard until you have a smooth paste. Take off the heat and leave to cool for 2 minutes, then gradually add
the milk, whisking constantly.
Return the pan to a medium heat; add the onion, clove and bay leaf
and simmer for 10 minutes, whisking frequently. If the sauce becomes too thick, whisk in a little more milk.
Finish the sauce by removing the onion, clove and bay leaf, then add the nutmeg and season with salt and pepper – I like to use white pepper. Leave to cool slightly.
This serves four if you’re cooking the whole menu, but if serving this on its own, double the recipe and cook in a larger baking dish. Serve with a leafy green salad.
Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4. Slice the potatoes into ½cm-thick rounds. Cut the haddock into small chunks and add to the béchamel sauce with most of the parsley. Mix together, then add the potatoes.
Transfer to a baking dish, about 18cm x 22cm; top with the grated cheese. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until bubbling. Sprinkle with the reserved chopped parsley before serving.
Provide plenty of crusty bread for your guests to dip into the cheesy sauce