Mark Sargeant creates a comforting fish pie in episode 16 of Perfect.
Pre-heat oven to 200C/gas 6.
Put the clove studded onion in a large pan with the bay leaves, peppercorns and milk, put the fish in and bring to a gentle simmer for a couple of minutes or until the fish is just cooked through. Lift the fish out on to a plate and strain the cooking liquor into a jug. When the fish is cool enough to handle, break it into large flakes, discarding the skin and bones.
Melt half of the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and gradually stir in the reserved cooking liquor. Return it to the heat and bring slowly to the boil, stirring all the time. Leave it to simmer gently for 10 minutes to cook out the flour. Remove from the heat once more, stir in the herbs, season with nutmeg, salt and white pepper.
Boil the potatoes for 15-20 minutes. Drain, mash and add the rest of the butter and the egg yolks. Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper. Beat in enough of the remaining poaching milk to form a soft, spreadable mash.
Layer the fish over the base of a shallow 1.75 litre (3 pint) ovenproof dish.
Peel the eggs and cut them into chunky slices and arrange on top of the fish., followed by the peas, grate over some lemon zest and squeeze the juice over, the pour the sauce over, covering evenly
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6. Spoon the potato over the filling and mark the surface with a fork, finish with the parmesan. Bake for 30 minutes, until piping hot and golden brown.
• Poaching is an easy and hassle-free method of preparing fish and can be carried out in a number of ways.
• You must never allow the fish to cook in boiling liquid as this will break the fish into pieces and destroy the structure.
• Due to the fact that the fish is being cooked in a liquid, poaching is an excellent method for leaner, less oily types of fish, as moisture is retained during the cooking process giving the fish a succulent flavour and texture.
• When poaching fish, it is necessary to keep the fish covered in liquid at all times throughout the cooking period.
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