It should’t surprise you that a dish hailing from Ireland would include potatoes in some fashion. This humble spud is often featured in recipes from the UK in a variety of ways. In this case, boiled, mashed and seasoned to perfection and coupled with cod.
Traditionally made with ground lamb, my pescatarian version of Irish shepherd’s pie is a swimmingly delicious version that uses firm and mild flavored cod as the featured ingredient. Also known as fish pie, this dish is essentially a classic casserole that is chock full of creamy potatoes, aromatic vegetables and well seasoned fish. I enjoy serving this up a few times during over the winter season using previously frozen and refreshed (defrosted) fish. If cod is unavailable, swap it out for another firm white fish like haddock or pollock, which happens to be one of Alaska’s most abundant fish.
The dish looks impressive when served with its golden-brown peaks of potatoes and takes under 30 minutes to put it together if you have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go.
My preference is to make my mashed potatoes from scratch, but in a pinch you can buy the pre-made versions found in market and grocery store and dress them up to your liking. Alternatively, you can make them a day ahead to save time.
3 tablespoons of butter or ghee
3 celery stalks, diced
3 carrots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
3 tablespoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 cup vegetable broth
Kosher salt and freshly crack black pepper to taste
1 ½ pounds cod, thawed if using frozen
1 cup half & half or cream
2 cups of seasoned mashed potatoes, separated
1 tablespoon parsley, for garnish
Pre-heat oven to 400º
In a large skillet over medium heat add the butter or ghee and sauté the onion, celery and carrot and sweat them until they become soft. Add the parsley, thyme, vegetable broth and add salt, black pepper and cod and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the half & half or cream and stir in 2 tablespoons of mashed potatoes to help thicken the mix. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed. Set aside to cool slightly.
Assemble the pie by using one baking dish or several individual ramekins and fill each with equal portions of the cod mix. Use a spoon or rubber spatula to top the dish with a layer of mashed potatoes. Place on a baking sheet, in case there is spillage, and add to the oven. Cook until the potatoes turn brown, use the broiler if desired. Serve immediately.