Recipe: Ruth Pretty’s Little Fish Pies with Parmesan Crumble

These pretty little pies have seriously big flavour. 

Words & recipe: Ruth Pretty  Styling & photos: Carolyn Robertson

Makes 22 to 24


195g fish fillets
250ml milk
50g butter
½ small onion, finely chopped
½ stalk celery, cut in halflengthwise and thinly sliced
30g flour
2 spring onions, thinly sliced on an angle
2 teaspoons chopped dill
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
Toasted Bread Cases (recipe follows)
Parmesan Crumble (recipe follows)


Heat oven to 170°C. Place the fish in an ovenproof dish and pour over milk. Cover with foil and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the fish is tender. Remove fish from the milk (retain the milk for sauce), and flake it into small pieces.

Melt the butter in a small pot set over low heat. Add onion and celery and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until onion is soft and celery is tender. Add flour and stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes.

Slowly pour in 200ml reserved milk from cooking fish, stirring between each addition, until sauce is smooth. When the milk is incorporated, simmer the sauce for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spring onions, dill, lemon zest, capers, salt and pepper and stir well to combine. Cool and add fish. Fold together gently.

When you’re ready to serve, heat the oven to 160°C. Place the Toasted Bread Cases on a flat baking tray and fill with the fish mixture. Sprinkle each with a rounded teaspoon of Parmesan Crumble.

More stories you might like:
Imake cracks 25,000 sales of electric beer-brewing machine, The Grainfather

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the pies are hot and the crumble is golden brown.

Toasted Bread Cases

Heat the oven to 160°C. Trim the crusts from 24 slices of white sandwich bread. Place a slice of bread onto a clean work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll bread to half its thickness. Cut a round from the bread (using a 7.5cm smooth-edged cookie cutter), then make a cut from the centre of the round out to the edge. Repeat with the remaining slices.

Brush the bread rounds with 30g melted butter. Place each round, buttered side down, into baby muffin tins to create a clean cup shape with a flat base. Brush the inside of each cup lightly with remaining melted butter.

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until light golden brown and crisp. Cool, then store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Makes 24

Parmesan Crumble

Toss together 80g fresh breadcrumbs, 30g finely grated parmesan and 30g melted butter until well combined. Cover and store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes 140g


Store fish in a covered container in the fridge. Boost the chill factor by adding bags of ice to the container.

NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
Discuss This Article
Send this to a friend