Life is too short to spend ages making a fish pie, in my opinion. So the Hairy Dieters’ Quick Cod and Prawn Gratin recipe is a speedy solution and still contains most of the bells and whistles that you’d expect to find in this classic dish, except for the mash topping.
Get all the ingredients out on the side before you start cooking and read through the method carefully. This isn’t hard to make, but there’s a bit going on and if your brain is fried after a day at work you could become flustered. I had low expectations for this meal but it tasted far better than I imagined and was ready in 30 minutes – a diet friendly version of fish pie on speed, and all for less than 300 calories per portion.
Recipe: Quick Cod and Prawn Gratin
Calories: 287 per portion
Book: Hairy Dieters – How to Love Food and Lose Weight
Prep time: Approx 15 minutes
Cooking time: Approx 15 minutes
- 100g frozen cooked peeled prawns
- 400g thick white fillet, such as line-caught cod (skinned)
- 150g smoked haddock (skinned)
- 400ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ small onion (finely chopped)
- 3 tbsp cornflour
- 3 tbsp cold water
- 100g frozen peas
- 2 tbsp white wine or vermouth
- 40g dry white breadcrumbs (ideally fairly coarse)
- 25g extra mature Cheddar cheese (finely grated)
- Flaked sea salt
- Ground black pepper
Cost per portion: Approx £2.66
Spread the prawns on a plate and leave them to thaw at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Cut the white fish fillet and haddock into 3cm chunks and set them aside. Pour the milk into a large non-stick saucepan and add the bay leaf and onion, then bring to a gentle simmer.
Mix the cornflour and water together in a small bowl until smooth, then pour this into the warm milk. Cook over a low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the sauce is thick, smooth and bubbling gently and the onion is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
Stir the peas and white wine (or vermouth) into the hot sauce and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the fish pieces and cook for 2 minutes more, stirring once or twice. Stir the prawns, with any water released from them as they thawed, into the sauce and cook for another 2 minutes or until the prawns are hot and the fish is cooked. Stir only occasionally so the fish doesn’t break up too much – you want your finished gratin to be nice and chunky.
Preheat the grill to its hottest setting. Spoon the fish mixture into a warmed 1.5-litre shallow pie dish. Mix the breadcrumbs and cheese together and sprinkle them over the top. Place under the grill for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted. Serve piping hot with some green vegetables.