April 3

Friday Night Fish Pie with Spring Vegetables

Growing up in Ireland, we could be forgiven for thinking it was not an island surrounded by the sea on all sides. But growing up I didn’t eat much fish or even see much fish being eaten. Fish was for Fridays or for Lent, something you ate battered and deep fried on takeaway night. We just never gave fish the love it needed at home.

Thankfully, in our home we appreciate fish an awful lot more. But we have gotten a little stale in our choices, salmon, salmon aaannnddd more salmon! Plus I am much more aware that we need to make responsible choices when shopping for fish in order to protect it's supply for our future generations.

So this year I will be expanding my fish horizons with as much variety as I can while only buying sustainable options. If you buy from a fishmonger all you have to do is ask. The health of our local fisheries is in their interest after all. In the supermarket you can keep it sustainable by looking out for the blue MSC label.

This ensures it comes from healthy, sustainable populations, has been caught in a way which has minimal environmental impact and is traceable from ocean to plate. MSC certified tinned sardines, salmon and herring are available worldwide in leading supermarkets such as Lidl and Aldi.

Locally we have some amazing places to shop for fish. Morgans Fine Fish are a member of Origin Green. Morgans supply a lot of our local supermarkets and restaurants and have their shop on the square here in Dundalk. Carlingford is home to the award winning Carlingford Oyster Company. Out in Clogherhead, we have The Fisherman's Catch Fish Shop. The fish sold in the shop could not be fresher as it is delivered directly to the shop from their boat, as soon as it returns to harbour. And they use sustainable fishing methods. Amazing!

If you are like me, and you haven't yet developed a true appreciation for the taste of fish, you'll like my fish recipes. Most of the time, I choose ways to cook it smothered in flavourings. One of which is this fish pie recipe. Traditionally made fish pies can be quite high fat so I made some switches to make it a little more heart healthy.

Friday Night Fish Pie Recipe:

Ingredients: Serves 3

  • 2-3 fish fillets eg. herring, hake, trout, mackerel. Skinned and deboned.
  • 1 tbsp oil, for cooking veg
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 bundle of spring onions, whites sliced finely.
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • 4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 or 4 handfuls of spinach, washed and chopped
  • 1-2 small lemons
  • 1 tub of quark, low-fat crème fraîche or cream cheese
  • 5-6 small/medium potatoes
  • Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bundle of asparagus, for serving alongside

How To:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan. Chop your fish into bite sized pieces and add to your baking dish.
  2. Prepare all your vegetable for cooking.
  3. Peel your potatoes and spiralise into fine noodles. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Drop the potatoes into the boiling water and cook for a few minutes to soften partially, then drain. Pat dry with kitchen paper and transfer to a separate bowl.
  4. Add the mustard, spring onion, leek and carrot to a large pan with some rapeseed oil to prevent sticking and cook until softened. Add the spinach and stir until wilted.
  5. Add the quark, the zest of the lemon, a small squeeze of juice and the parsley and stir until heated through. Then spoon this filling over your fish and mix together.
    NOTE: The lower the fat content of your cream cheese, the more prone it is to splitting at high temperatures. So watch it as you are heating it through.
  6. Toss the potato with the olive oil, some sea salt and black pepper. Top the fish pie mix with the potato spirals and bake in the oven for 25-30 mins until hot through. For a crispy topping, put the pie under the grill for 5 mins until the potato is golden.
  7. Leave it to cool and settle for at least 10 mins before serving. There is nothing to be achieved, other than scorching your mouth, by eating the pie straight from the oven. 
  8. Serve with steamed veg or a lovely green salad for even more veggie goodness. We served ours with grilled asparagus topped with lemon butter, see below.

Optional Extra, Lemon Butter Asparagus:

  1. Pop your asparagus onto a George Forman grill or under the grill in the top oven for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Beat 50g melted butter with the zest of a whole lemon and juice of half and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Then toss the asparagus with the butter. It's amazing!

If you are using a mash potato topping:

  1. Peel and cut your potatoes into evenly sized chunks. Add to a pot of boiling salted water.
  2. When your potatoes are cooked, so drain them in a colander and return them to the pan. Drizzle with a couple of good lugs of olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Mash until nice and smooth, then spread evenly over the topping. You could mash them with the greens from the spring onions!
  3. With mash potato-topped pies always start topping with a ring of mash on the edge of the dish, using the side of the dish to scrape the mash off the spatula, then work your way into the middle. This totally encases the dish without messily pushing any filling up the sides. It’s small tricks like this that make all the difference.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for around 30 minutes, or until cooked through, crispy and golden on top. 


If you’ve made this recipe I’d love to know how it turned out for you. Post a picture of your meal on Instagram and tag me @PilatesBarreDlk or #VitalityNutritionProg. I share on my stories!

Emma x

Meet Emma

Hi, I am Emma McAtasney, a NCEHS Personal Trainer since 2009. I earned my Pilates credentials through BASI Pilates, a highly respected college-level Pilates teacher training programme which aim is to create and maintain professional standards for the teaching of the Pilates Method to the highest calibre.

In addition, I am a prenatal and postnatal exercise specialist, nutritionist and founder of a boutique Pilates studio in Dundalk, Ireland.

I help my clients eat healthier, ditch fad diets and lose weight for good by guiding them to make small manageable changes that long term have a huge impact on their quality of life!

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