Today's recipe comes courtesy of my 13 year old son Kyle. A few weeks ago a friend tagged me in a facebook post about a Young Fish Pie Master Cooking Challenge taking place at Macduff Marine Aquarium as part of their Fish Fest weekend. As she'd thought, this was right up his street and he set to work creating a recipe. The contest was open for participants aged 12-17 with the Young Fish Pie Master title to be awarded to the contestant who created the best fish pie, using local or sustainably sourced seafood ingredients. The pie could be traditional, a family recipe or a new creation but had to include locally sourced/sustainable fish, a sauce and a topping. The selected finalists would each have a work station with 2 single gas burners and access to an oven. Competitors could prepare the raw ingredients in advance but must assemble and cook the pie during the cook off. Competitors would have one hour to cook their pies.
Recipe development commenced and with a practice pie made and some tweaks to the recipe he submitted his entry.
About You and Your Fish Pie: Please tell us a bit about yourself and your fish pie recipe – for example, is it handed down the generations of your family or your own twist on a traditional dish?
My name is Kyle Jessiman and I am 13 years old. I live in Newtonhill and go to Portlethen Academy. I love cooking and baking especially with seafood, my favourite would be shellfish. Every month we get a Fish Box from Coast and Glen and I always really look forward to it. In there I have had live lobster, crab, oysters and scallops which I have had to shuck plus many more fishy things. I have made up this recipe because I think that it all works well together. I think that using mascarpone as the sauce just changes it slightly from a usual white sauce and the sweet potato complements the dish nicely and the crisps add a bit more texture.
He emailed off his entry form just in the nick of time to meet the deadline and waited patiently to see if he'd secured a coveted place in the final. Much excitement when at last an email arrived and he found out that he was one of the chosen finalists. CONGRATULATIONS! Your fish pie recipe has made it to the final of the Young Fish Pie Master competition.
At this point big thanks must go to Coast & Glen who scheduled a special Fish Box delivery so Kyle had ingredients to practice with use on the big day itself.
Kyle’s Sweet Potato Crispy Topped Fish Pie
Finalist in the Young Fish Pie Master Cooking Challenge at Macduff Marine Aquarium
650g sweet potatoes
3 spring onions
50g frozen peas
100g ready salted crisps
300g Coast & Glen Fish Pie Mix - smoked haddock, salmon & haddock
3 hard boiled eggs
50g grated cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to season
Cook the sweet potatoes in salted boiling water for aprox 15min then drain. Put through a ricer or mash until smooth. Set aside in a bowl and mix through 1 Tbsp of the mascarpone.
Preheat your oven to 200c
Finely chop the spring onions, wash well and place in a bowl.
Add the mascarpone to the spring onions and beat until soft. Mix through the frozen peas,
Chop the fish into bite sized pieces and add to the mascarpone mix. Fold in the fish along with a pinch of salt and a good scrunch of black pepper
Now place the fish mix into an oven proof dish and spread evenly, nestle in quartered hard boiled eggs then cover with the sweet potato mash.
Finally sprinkle crushed crisps over, then the cheese and cook for 35 – 40 min.
(Alternatively make four individual pies and cook for 25-30 minutes until golden and bubbling)
All five contestants coped extremely well in the pressure of the tent. A cut finger, forgotten ingredient and an under performing oven didn't ruffle the feathers of any of the young chefs. All too soon time was up and the judges made their rounds to sample the finished pies. There was a real mix of traditional and more exciting ingredients including coconut oil, mustard seeds, cumin, chilli, olives, pesto and basil. The judges duly deliberated, cogitated and digested and with positive feedback and constructive comments made to all, the winner was announced as Pheobe's Italian Inspired Fish Pie.
Many congratulations to Pheobe who was awarded the inaugural "Young Fish Pie Master" trophy. Her fish pie recipe will now be included as a special on the menu at the Banff Springs Hotel and will be published on the Macduff Marine Aquarium website. All the competitors received a goody bag and with the assistance of the River Cottage Fish cookbook which was part of its contents Kyle's already started planning his 2016 entry! Despite not winning he thoroughly enjoyed the experience of taking part something which I'm not altogether sure I'd have had the confidence to do at that age. Although I did cook a meal for the late Charles Kennedy MP at around the same age so perhaps it's a case of like mother, like son after all. (I never did manage to become a professional chef and they spelled my name wrong!)
For further Fish Pie inspiration here are some tasty recipes from fellow food bloggers
A Comfort Food Fish Pie by It's Not Easy Being Greedy
Fish Pie with Scallops by Farmersgirl Kitchen
Crumble Topped Ocean Pie by Supper in The Suburbs
Soy Sauce Fishermans Pie with Miso Mash by Emily's Recipe & Reviews
Weaning Recipe for Dairy free, Cornish hake fish pie by Penelope's Pantry
Fish Pie by Fab Food 4 All
Frugal Freezer Fish Pie by Elizabeths Kitchen Diary