The old saying that 'Fish is Good For The Brain' is absolutely true. Oil rich fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines are especially good brain boosters. This is down to their high levels of omega-3 essential fats which are vital for brain function and can also help the performance of dyslexic and hyperactive children. Our brain is made up of 60% fat and eating the right fats omega-3 and omega 6 fats found in fish and seeds makes us smarter. Interestingly whilst fresh tuna is a good source, tinned tuna is not as the processing removes most of the fatty acids.
Ideally you should try to include two portions of oily fish a week in your child’s diet Easier said than done you might think as fish is a notoriously difficult food to get children to eat they feel squeamish about any fish that doesn’t come battered or covered in breadcrumbs. So I have come up with a really tasty mini fish pie. Its good to make these in ramekins so your child has an individual portion that looks attractive.
I design the menus for Asquith nurseries a large chain of nurseries in the UK, and one of the children’s favourite dishes is this fish pie. Another of their favourite recipes is my fruity curried chicken, so it’s interesting to see that children often have more sophisticated taste than we imagine.
Making food look attractive is important, and so it seems much more appealing to make individual fish pies rather than have a dollop of food on the plate.
800 g (1 3/4 lb) potatoes
For the sauce
45 g (1 1/2 oz) butter
Salmon & Cod Filling
250 g (9 oz) salmon, skin removed and cut into 2 cm (3/4 in) chunks
Method for Fish Pie
Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 6. Boil the potatoes in salted water. Drain and mash with the butter, milk and Parmesan and season to taste.
To make the sauce, melt the butter and sauté the shallot for 5–6 minutes until soft. Add the white wine vinegar and boil for 2–3 minutes until the liquid has evaporated.
Stir in the flour to make a roux. Gradually, stir in the fish stock and then cook over a medium heat, stirring continuously.
Bring to the boil then cook stirring until thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream and the chopped dill or chives. Season well as the fish is unseasoned.
Divide all the fish and peas among four or six mini ramekins (depending on the size) and pour over the sauce. Brush the potato topping with a little beaten egg. Bake for 25 minutes.
Suitable for freezing
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes (includes 20 minutes for cooking potato)
Makes 4–6 portions