smokedfish

By Joshna Maharaj

We received a generous donation of smoked Georgian Bay trout from the Akiwenzie family after the Green Barn Farmers’ Market one Saturday. The Akiwenzies have been fishing in Georgian Bay for generations. Andrew Akiwenzie recommended we make a fish pie and gave us some rough instructions, and with a bit of research, we came up with this recipe. The dish was nothing short of spectacular. For vegetarians, we substituted caramelized fennel for the fish, to equally rave reviews.

Makes 6 servings

Mashed potato topping
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, washed
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more if
needed

Smoked fish base and béchamel
2 pounds smoked fish, skin removed, flaked into
chunks
4 hard cooked eggs, cooled, peeled and cut
into chunks
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more if needed
pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more if
needed
1 cup grated Gruyère or cheddar cheese

Make the mashed potato topping: Place potatoes in a large saucepan with a generous pinch of salt and water to cover. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander and rinse with cold water until cool enough to handle. Using a paring knife, peel potatoes. Return potatoes to the saucepan (off the heat) and use a potato masher to mash them until smooth, adding the 1/2 cup of butter in bits as you mash. Stir in salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed; set aside.

Make the smoked fish base and béchamel sauce: In a 9- by 13-inch baking pan or casserole dish, spread fish and eggs in a single layer. Sprinkle with parsley.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour and cook, stirring continuously, for 1 minute. Gradually add milk, whisking constantly. Simmer until mixture starts to thicken and comes almost to a boil. Remove sauce from heat and stir in nutmeg, salt and pepper.

Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Pour the sauce evenly over the fish and eggs.

Arrange mashed potato topping evenly over the fish, eggs and sauce. Score with a fork to create a pattern. Sprinkle evenly with grated cheese.

Bake in a 350°F oven until golden brown and bubbling, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.

Recipe by Joshna Maharaj, from Good Food For All: Seasonal Recipes From a Community Garden (The Stop Community Food Centre, Toronto, 2009). Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.

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