Fish Pie Potato Skins

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John Whaite does not appreciate waste. He says that when it comes to making a traditional fish pie, “it seems a shame that most recipes discard the potato skins, which are not only packed with so many nutrients but also delicious. That really is the provenance of this recipe.”

Indeed – these chunky pies, which feature in John’s new cookbook, Comfort, have all the characteristics of your classic fish pie, but come encased in crisp potato skins and bubbling with cheese.

Here’s how to make them.

Serves: 6


  • 6 medium baking potatoes

For the filling:

  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 1 leek, very finely sliced
  • 2 anchovies, finely chopped
  • 100g skinless salmon, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 100g skinless firm white fish, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 100g skinless smoked trout or salmon, cut into 1cm cubes
  • 200g creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

For the topping:

  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 50g Gruyere, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon creme fraiche

1. Preheat the oven to 210°C/190°C fan/gas mark 7. Put the potatoes on a baking tray and bake for 11.5 hours, until the skins are crispy and the insides soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle them. Reduce the temperature to 200°C/180°C fan/gas mark 6.

2. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Once the butter melts, add the leek and fry until very soft – about 20 minutes – stirring occasionally. Put the leek into a bowl with the remaining filling ingredients and stir to mix well.

3. Halve the potatoes and scoop most of the flesh into a bowl – leave about 5mm of flesh against the skin. Fill each potato skin with the fish filling and place on a baking tray – or use a 12-hole bun tin so the filled potato halves don’t fall over.

4. Add the topping ingredients to the bowl of potato and mix until fairly smooth, then blob it on top of the fish filling in each potato skin. Bake for 20–30 minutes, until the potato is slightly coloured.

Do you have a soft spot for pie? What’s your favourite?

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