This recipe and photography was provided courtesy of local cookbook author and chef, Carla Snyder. Learn more about Carla and discover her recipes at Ravenouskitchen.com.
Back in the 60s, my mom and dad were regulars at the monthly Elks Club dance. On those busy nights, she would feed us kids frozen pot pies. We loved having our own individual little pie, but I think most of the appeal was in the browned crust that revealed little bitty pieces of chicken and vegetables swimming in a sea of creamy sauce when broken. We also got to eat them with the baby sitter on TV trays in front of our black and white television, which was an added treat.
Though I might not consider myself lucky to get a frozen pot pie today, I do still love the comforting idea of a saucy and hot pot pie with a crispy crust. The good news is that it isn’t hard or time-consuming to make a truly wonderful pot pie. Ready in less than one hour, you won’t believe how easily this lighter version of a childhood favorite comes together. Instead of chicken, this recipe uses haddock and frozen puff pastry for a fresh take on this classic dish.
A down-home supper in the same stick-to-your-ribs family as mac and cheese, pot pies are a cold-weather comfort food worth the short time it takes to make them at home. By subbing out the chicken for haddock, this pot pie will cook super-fast. Full of good-for-you spinach and potatoes with mushrooms, pearl onions and just enough garlic and tomato to spice things up, this creamy meal is topped with ready-to-go frozen puff pastry. No need to roll it out and fit it onto the pan, I just cut it into squares and fit them over the top of the fish and vegetable mixture. There’s also no need to make a sauce. Just pour in a little heavy cream and the juices from the vegetables and fish do all the work for you.
I fell in love with haddock while vacationing in Maine a few years ago. It’s a member of the cod family, so it has that mild flavor, firm flesh and moist texture we know and love. Haddock is especially good for this dish since the filets are thinner than cod and so create an even layered effect in the pot pie. They also cook a bit faster. If you can’t find haddock, cod will certainly do, as will tilapia, perch or walleye.
To make it even easier, this dish is assembled, baked and served in one skillet. To cut calories and keep it light, I’ve reduced the amount of creamy sauce, leaving just enough to keep the fish and vegetables moist but not swimming. It’s all about the fish, vegetables and crust. You can never forget the crust. Winner, winner, fish pie dinner!
Seafood Pie of Haddock, Spinach, Tomato and Mushrooms
Start-to-Finish: 45 minutes
Hands-On Time: 25 minutes
This homey dish starts out with a little potato followed by layers of spinach and mushrooms, a touch of cream, haddock, tomato and a buttery puff pastry topping. Simple, delicious and fast, this is a recipe that is built for success.
It’s that easy: If you can’t find haddock, go ahead and use cod, tilapia or any other firm-fleshed white fish. It will taste amazing.
- 6 new potatoes
- 8 oz. cremini or baby bella mushrooms, wiped clean
- 2 cloves garlic
- Three 5 oz. bags baby spinach
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 cup frozen pearl onions, thawed
- 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp. salt plus more for sprinkling
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large tomato
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, plus 1 tablespoon
- 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed but chilled
- 1 1/2-lb haddock, skin removed
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- On a large cutting board, halve and thinly slice the potatoes and mushrooms and mince the garlic. Set aside.
- Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat and add the spinach in batches, adding more as it wilts. Transfer the spinach to a colander to cool.
- Rinse the pan, return to the heat and add the oil. When the oil shimmers, add the potatoes, mushrooms, garlic, onions, Italian seasoning, 1/2 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper. Stir to mix and sauté for about 3 minutes or until the vegetables are hot. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast for 10 minutes.
- While the potatoes cook, slice the tomatoes into 8 slices. In a small bowl, whisk together the 3/4 cup cream, flour and mustard. Cut the pastry into 9 squares and keep chilled. Squeeze as much water from the cooled spinach as you can, chop and set it aside.
- Sprinkle the fish with salt and a few grinds of pepper.
- Remove the potatoes from the oven and stir in the spinach and a few grinds of pepper (careful, the handle is hot). Stir to mix and taste for seasoning, adding more salt or pepper as needed. Return the pan to medium-low heat to keep it hot as you assemble the dish.
- Pour the cream over the vegetables. Lay the seasoned fish on top of the vegetables and then layer the tomatoes on top of the fish along with another sprinkle of salt and pepper. Lay the pastry on top of the tomatoes making a patchwork pastry topping. You can cut a few of the squares down into smaller pieces to make them fit. Brush the pastry with the remaining tablespoon of cream.
- Bake for about 20 minutes until the topping is golden and the fish flakes.
- Divide the pot pie among heated plates and serve hot.
Extra Hungry Kids? Heat up some Texas toast and serve the vegetables and fish on top.
In the Glass: Your favorite Chardonnay is a great choice for this rich meal. If you haven’t tried an unoaked Chardonnay, this is a good time to pick up a bottle from Kim Crawford or Estancia.