Forever Nigella: Nursery Fish Pie

Sunday, June 26, 2011
Thanks to Kat at Housewife Confidential for hosting the sixth Forever Nigella Blogging Event.  The Official Forever Nigella page is at Maison Cupcake.

I've talked about the problems associated with seafood in a landlocked state before, but that evidently hasn't kept me from attempted to add fish and seafood to our meals.  I decided I'd like to make Nigella Lawson's Nursery Fish Pie, because a) it's so very British, b) I've never had fish pie before, nursery or otherwise, and c) I was slightly afraid of it.  We didn't eat a lot of fish at my parents' house (also in a landlocked state), so I had no idea if poached fish (and poached smoked fish) in a cheesy béchamel sauce covered in cheesy mashed potatoes was something I would like or not.  Thankfully, since the smoked rainbow trout was so expensive, the pie was very tasty.  I had to use smoked rainbow trout instead of smoked haddock, because our grocery store didn't have any smoked haddock and the fishmonger by our house promised to get some for me and didn't.  Also, I used U.S. wild-caught Atlantic pollock instead of the fresh haddock because that was the whitefish that was available this week that comes from a country with rules about food safety.  Plus it was on sale for $3 per pound, so I think I got a pretty good deal.

I forgot to hard-boil eggs, so I had to leave those out (so maybe I didn't get a truly authentic Nursery Fish Pie), but added extra green peas to make up for it.  I actually followed the recipe for the most part; I only made 1/4 recipe and discovered it was enough for four people, not two.  I didn't want to risk four packages of smoked rainbow trout on a dish I'd never tried before!  Half of a Nigella-sized serving was plenty (even for the husband), because the dish is very dense and rich.  I did double the amount of milk for the poaching and the béchamel.

Single-serving Nursery Fish Pie with a side of Carottes étuvées au beurre from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

The sky east of our house last Saturday evening

In other news, we had a storm last Saturday night that messed with our cable signal.  According to the Tivo people, the signal is strong enough to get a picture to the television, but not strong enough to allow the Tivo to record it.  So--I've been largely without film-recording capacity all week.  I even had to record a George Sanders movie with the upstairs VCR.  The cable technician is supposed to come out this afternoon to adjust our signal strength.  Fingers crossed that it actually works...

Original poster from Dr. Macro's High Quality Movie Scans

Speaking of George Sanders movies, I did manage to record Lloyd's of London (1936) before the Tivo went on strike.  Lloyd's of London is suitably British and maritime to go with a Nursery Fish Pie, I should think.  First-billed Freddie Bartholomew (who was the biggest star out of the cast at the time) plays Jonathan Blake, portrayed as an adult by Tyrone Power (a baby-faced twenty-two-year-old in his first starring role).  Blake goes from waiting tables in his aunt's tavern to working as an errand-boy for the syndicates at Lloyd's Coffee House to English spy and leader of his own ship-insuring syndicate.  Quite a life!  I don't know much about the historical accuracy of the script, but if other 1930s productions are any indication, I wouldn't try using this film as a source for a paper!  George Sanders, in his first American production, tries to throw a wrench into the works as the suitably caddish (what else?) husband of Jonathan Blake's lady love, played by Madeleine Carroll.  All in all, this is a solidly entertaining film.  I enjoyed it.  Keep an eye out for Una O'Connor and C. Aubrey Smith in small, but deliciously fun, roles.

George Sanders and Tyrone Power face off; Madeleine Carroll intercedes
(from Dr. Macro's High Quality Movie Scans)
Lloyd's of London is not available on DVD, but is shown on Turner Classic Movies.

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