Friday, April 12, 2013

Fisherman’s Pie – The Deadliest Casserole

I’ve never been a huge fan of the fisherman reality shows like Wicked Tuna and Deadliest Catch. Seems like every situation that comes up, no matter how mundane, is made to look like a matter of life and death. Sure it’s relatively dangerous compared to selling shoes, but they’re mostly just fishing in crappy weather.

Riveting slip and falls notwithstanding, I think the real challenge in that environment would be trying to cook a decent meal. Imagine putting together this delicious, potato-crust-topped cod and spinach casserole in the galley of one of those boats. I actually get woozy thinking about it. 

Luckily most of us have a nice steady oven at home in which to make this comforting dish happen, rogue wave free. Speaking of the oven, be sure to check your fish to see if it’s flaking before taking it out. Mine took about 40 minutes, but my sauce and potatoes were warm. If you make your components ahead and they cool down, or your fish is thicker, it may take a while longer to bake, so poke and peek. You can always fix the top, and thanks to the broiler, no one will be the wiser. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

For potato crust:
3 russet potatoes
3 tbsp butter
nutmeg, salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
1/2 cup milk
For the sauce:
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cold milk
2 tsp lemon zest
salt to taste
For the rest:
1 tbsp butter to grease dish
salt, pepper, cayenne to taste
2 pounds boneless cod filets
12 oz washed baby spinach
juice of 1/2 lemon
fresh chives to garnish

View the complete recipe


Louise said...

I guess you have never known any fisherman from New England. Our
loved ones were never found. The ocean is not forgiving or trivial. It is a matter of live and death.
I've been been following your blog for about 4 years now and I've gained confidence in myself. I've tried many or your recipes and have delighted my children.


Dee Lite said...

can I make this in ramekins? Also does it hold up well to the microwave?

Edward A. Voss said...

Chef, can I replace the milk with soy/almond milk or something else? Thanks!

Ivor the Engine Driver said...

They actually eat quite good while onboard. It's not fancy and exquisite, but it's still good food.

Chef John said...

Louise, I was only talking about the show, not real life!

Ed, never used either, so not sure!

Dee, Ramekins yes! Microwave to reheat is fine.

widvey said...

Are you sure about the cook time here? Cod should cook in minutes and the potatoes and the sauce is already done...

How about adding bacon on top and when the bacon looks awesome I am sure the cod will be too.

Anyway, I have cooked several of your dishes and they are all great!

Anonymous said...

This looks seriously tasty. I also like that I think I can cut this recipe in half easily since it's just for the husband and myself. Thanks again John!

Ben said...

Dude, love the recipes, I've tried several and they've all turned out delicious. My favorite so far is the spinach and feta cheese pie, made it several times now. Last time I accidentally bought low fat feta cheese instead of the real stuff, it still turned out good though.

Lance McPhee said...

Could you also put an egg wash on top of it to help brown it? Not sure if that works for potatoes or not. Also would some shallots work if I let them sweat in some butter first before adding them in?

Laura Vassal said...

Thank you chef for this wonderful video blog. I am relatively new at making interesting food and have made about 10 of your recipes so far. My husband is really happy. He says he feels like he is eating in a restaurant every day. :)
A new Canadian fan

cookinmom said...

What other fish can I use. Will be going on a charter boat fishing soon. Fish that has consistancy??

Chef John said...

Any white flaky fish will work!

Nadine20mai said...

Thank you for another great recipe! I would like to make it but I am not sure about the time if I half the recipe.
Please, let me know!

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

Hey, you! Landlubber with the spatula! You are hereby invited to go tuna fishing in crappy weather. And then, when we come home with no tuna, we'll make this lovely casserole with the striped bass we have in the freezer. But I'm betting we can get you to think differently about the whole enterprise.

And, since you got me to think differently about fish casserole, we'll be even.

Jef Willemsen said...

Made it the other day (using hot mash and sauce) and stuck it in the oven for 40 minutes, and it came out fine...Remember, the fish is 'protected' by dense layers of mash, sauce and veggies so the heat needs a little time to fully penetrate the entire dish.

Chef John said...

Tamar, Ha! Sounds like a blast. ;) Apparently my badly written poke at a tired TV genre has the fishing community up in arms, and I assume, hooks. As with all things, I'm pretty sure the real stuff is way better and more interesting than any show.

BTW, please tell me you've pitched the idea for an Oyster farming couple reality show. Ratings gold. ;)

Chef John said...

Jeff, exactly! Thanks!

Jerald Whitaker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bridget said...

Hm. Catfish probably doesn't count as a white flaky fish...I'm guessing--nope. Me and my catfish (sigh)..I'm too southern for my own good! Well I will be making this sometime just not with catfish! :)

Shakia said...

Having this for dinner tonight! Though I used mix of cod, pangasius and shrimps(was low in cod). I added leeks to the spinach for a bit of sweetness and chili flakes instead of cayenne.

The sauce is sinfully delicious! Saved the remaining to eat with fish fries!

Thank you for an awesome recipe!

Chewy2 said...

Can this be assembled ahead of time and popped in the oven later?

Andria said...

Dear Chef John,
Just made this for dinner and it was delicious!! I love Cod and everything else that went into this recipe! However, i added a bit more cayenne pepper! Yikes!I thought i was adding peprika! lols
Nevertheless, it's a winner. Thanks!!

Future_Sanchez said...

Made this tonight for my father, son, and I. It was delicious! So rich and creamy. You can taste a hint of lemon in it. The spinach was crazily the best part. Two thumbs up Chef John!

M Velders said...

Hai Chef John,

A little rasp cheddar on top of the puree tast lovely with this dish.


M Velders said...

Dear Chef John,

I really am a big fan off Foodwishes.

I made this dis and it taste great, but i put some chopped cheddar on top.


Marjan, Holland.

Ben Chubak said...

I just popped my pie in the oven and looked on my counter to see my unused 1/2 lemon! Well, lemon garnish while serving I guess.

Renegreg Vera said...

would the ultimate mashed potato recipe work as the crust?

Christine Peart said...

This was lovely chef, but my partner wasnt keen on the lemon. So I might leave it out next time ;-)

Pinko Foe said...

Michele is a lucky lady! This was fabulous! I used what I had on hand, haddock (delish) and almond coconut milk. Residing in the Cape of Cod I'm always looking for recipes that knock it out of the park. Tip of the ones hat to ya Chef John!

Unknown said...

This is a general roux question.

I regularly have ghee around--I make another pound of it whenever I run out.
When you say "butter and flour", whenever you make a roux, can I use ghee just as well or better, or are we counting on the milk solids in the butter to brown, as well as the flour?

Elizabeth Quarterman said...

Hi there, would salmon, scallops and or prawns also be ok? I've hated fish for years but I'm gonna give this a go! Thanks for the great work!

Unknown said...

Wow. First time I screwed up one of your recipes, and I don't even know why. Done exactly to directions, but using a disposable aluminum pan. Came out soupy, like fish stew. Tasted fine, but really loose.

debrabelz said...

White dry vermouth even better. Love you Chef John

debrabelz said...

White dry vermouth even better. Love you Chef John