I thought it is an important time to recognize our British explorers, and it’s a great time to talk about fish pies. Not traditionally known for their great cuisine, but coming up in ranks of style and taste. Southeast Alaska shares a lot in common with the same latitude, cool marine climate and forest biome. Precipitation is around the same, even though Juneau and London are about 4424 miles apart and Alaska could fit approximately 7 times the total area of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland combined. We have many names and history in our state thanks to the explorations of James Cook (Cook Inlet) in 1778 and Captain Dixon, John Meares, Portlock and George Vancouver’s 1794 voyage and survey from Puget Sound to Lynn Canal. They gave us many of the names we know today; such as Clarence Strait, Frederick Sound, Chatham Strait and Stephens Passage, who also brought along noted botanist George Menzies, who survived the Tlingit attack while circumnavigating Revillagigedo island in late July of 1794, having since been named Point Escape… They made their way north naming the Duke of York’s islands (Wrangell, Zarembo and Etolin island) exploring the Stikine river area, Duncan Canal and Johnstone, charted the south coast of Kupreanof and Whidbey explored Kuiu and Affleck Canal, met in Port Protection to share notes before heading south to Hawaii for the winter. What does this mean for Alaskans as the UK exits the EU, well our Permanent Fund Corp had immediate downturn as one the of the most successful investment funds in the world. Don’t forget the UK is the 16th largest trading partner with a taste for Alaskan salmon, tourism and oil exports.
2 lb potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
Firm pinch saffron, infused in a cup of hot milk
6 tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed with flat side of knife
2 ¼ cup whole milk
1 pound halibut, rockfish or other fresh white fish
110g smoked black cod/butterfish
2 tsp flour
2 tbsp chopped chives for garnish
Dash smoked sea salt (http://www.alaskapureseasalt.com/ is my favorite)
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Boil and mash the potato with the saffron milk and 2 tbsp of butter. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Pour the milk, peeled and smashed garlic into a wide pan, and place the fish fillets, skin side up on top. Bring slowly to the boil, cover the pan and turn of the heat. Leave to stand for five minutes, or until any skin can be peeled off and the fish flakes easily.
In another pan, melt 2 tbsp of butter and stir in the flour to make a quick roux. Cook for a minute, then stir in the milk from the fish pan. Cook, stirring, until thick and smooth (put it through a sieve if necessary). Stir half the sauce and all the chives gently into the fish, letting it fall in large flakes: add more sauce if necessary.
Arrange the mixture into an ovenproof dish or individual dishes ( I love the little Le Creusset pots or mini cast iron pans for this type of individual serving). Top with the saffron mashed potato, and dab the last of the butter and pinch of finishing smoked salt on top. Bake for about half an hour, until browned.
Serve with a crisp white wine, cold prawns, rhubarb crisp and minted peas
From her majesty’s table to yours enjoy….