Filo Fish Pie

, from Issue #26. August, 2015
Photography by Aaron McLean.
Filo Fish Pie

I prefer to lightly pre-cook the fresh fish before adding it to the recipe as it can release a lot of liquid during baking and make the sauce thin and watery.

Serves: 6–8


500 grams firm white fish fillets
1 cup fish, vegetable or chicken stock
500 grams moist smoked fish
1 bag spinach, washed, tough stems removed
4 eggs, boiled 3 minutes, cooled, peeled and quartered

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped
thyme or rosemary
1⁄2 cup white wine
3 tablespoons plain flour
150 grams crème fraîche or sour cream
250 grams raw, peeled prawns
1⁄4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

8 sheets filo pastry
2-3 tablespoons melted butter
2 litre capacity baking dish


Preheat the oven to 180 ̊C.

Cut the raw fish into large, bite-sized pieces and place in a sauté pan. Add the stock and gently bring to a simmer. The stock will not cover the fish. Cook gently for 2-3 minutes until the fish has just started to firm up and is turning white. It will not be fully cooked. Strain the fish, reserving one cup of the cooking liquor.

Flake the smoked fish into bite-sized pieces, discarding the skin and bones.

Put the spinach in a large bowl, pour over boiling water and turn to wilt. Drain and squeeze dry in a clean tea-towel. Chop roughly.

Sauce: Heat the oil and butter in a sauté pan, add the onion, garlic and thyme, season, cover and cook until tender. Add the wine and simmer uncovered until reduced by half. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Whisk in the reserved 1 cup of stock, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Stir in the crème fraîche, prawns, flat-leaf parsley and all the fish.

To assemble: Tip the fish into the baking dish and top with the eggs. Scatter over the spinach. Brush each sheet of filo with a little butter, gently scrunch up and place on top.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is golden and crisp. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Filo pastry: (also spelt phyllo) is a type of paper thin pastry from the Eastern Mediterranean. It is used for sweet and savoury dishes and is readily available fresh from the supermarket. It is important to keep it covered while in use as it dries out quickly when exposed to the air.

Menu: Serve with Caramelised Mandarins for dessert.