Fish Pie

Primal aviaryFish Pie is a classic English dish, probably one of those originally invented to use up fish that was less than fresh. Slathered in mashed potatoes, cheese, and a creamy white sauce, the idea was to cover up the fish, not make it the main focus.

This recipe for Primal fish pie takes a completely different approach. The dish is still covered in a buttery mashed potato crust, but underneath is a light and flavorful filling. Fresh salmon and cod are layered with leeks, zucchini and fresh herbs, and flavored with lemon and Dijon.

The potatoes are flavored with nothing more than creamy, salty, delicious butter. Just keep adding it until the potatoes taste like, well, butter. If you can, use salted grass-fed butter, which has incredible flavor plus a healthier fatty acid composition and higher vitamin content than regular butter.

Servings: 4 to 6

Time in the Kitchen: 1.5 hour



  • 1.5 pounds (about 4) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch/25 mm chunks (680 g)
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter, divided (plus more to taste) (90 g)
  • 1 small leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated (about 1 cup grated)
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 pounds fish, skin-off, bones removed cut into 1-inch/25 mm pieces (try half salmon, half cod) (680 g)
  • Zest of one small lemon
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley (60 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (30 ml)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (30 ml)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (15 ml)


step 2

Preheat oven to 400 Fº/205 Cº.

Cover potatoes with salted water in a pot and boil until soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain. Mash the drained potatoes with 4 tablespoons butter, or more if you like. Season with salt if needed. Set aside.

In a large saucepan, melt remaining 2 tablespoons/30 g butter over medium heat. Add the leek and celery. Cook until soft, 5 minutes. Add zucchini and cook until the zucchini is soft, 5 minutes.

In a 2 or 3 quart baking dish (or deep pie plate) layer vegetables and fish, and sprinkle lemon zest and parsley on top. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and Dijon mustard. Pour on top of the fish.

Smooth the mashed potatoes on top of the fish. Dot with small pieces of butter.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until lightly golden and crispy around the edges.
Fish pie can be served warm or at room temperature.


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6 thoughts on “Fish Pie”

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  1. Pretty unique recipe, from my perspective at least. Thanks for thinking outside the box, and combining some of my favs, mashed potatoes and fish.

  2. Hmm, I’ll have to try this. I’m always looking for ways to try to eat more fish. (I’d rather have beef or pork any day…)

  3. I prefer a top made from buttery mashed cauliflower and a velvety sauce made from stock, cream and potato starch (potato flakes work).

  4. I almost laughed out loud. I spent a summer of literature study at Exeter College, University of Oxford, and they regularly served us mackeral pie. You could smell what was for lunch a mile away! I like fish, I love mashed potatoes, but the olefactory memory will not die. Gonna take a pass on this one, but thank you for a good memory (loved the summer, hated the mackeral pie) and a chuckle!

  5. I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious. The mustard-lemon sauce that you pour over before it goes in the oven is spot-on. Yummy all around.

  6. I didn’t have enough potatoes so did half normal potatoes and half sweet potatoes. It was delicious and, like Melissa said, the mustard and lemon sauce gives a lovely tang. I am making this again next week :o)