Easy James Martin Fish Pie Recipe

James Martin Fish Pie
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 30 Mins Cook Time: 1 Hr Total Time: 1 Hr 30 Mins

James Martin’s Fish Pie is a delightful seafood dish, brimming with rich flavors and a creamy texture. Ideal for family dinners or festive gatherings, this recipe combines tender fish fillets with a smooth, savory sauce under a golden crust of mashed potatoes.

Typically, it serves 6-8 people and can be prepared and cooked in about 1.5 to 2 hours.

In this guide, I’ll take you through the process of making James Martin’s Fish Pie, complete with practical tips to ensure you get it perfect every time.

What is James Martin Fish Pie?

James Martin Fish Pie is a traditional British comfort dish featuring layers of assorted fish, covered in a creamy sauce and topped with fluffy mashed potatoes, then baked until golden.

James Martin Fish Pie

Other Pie Recipes

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Flavorful Comfort Food: Every bite offers a comforting blend of creamy, savory flavors that are sure to please any palate.
  • Nutritious: Packed with high-quality proteins and essential nutrients from various types of fish and dairy.
  • Versatile: Perfect for any dining occasion, from casual family meals to more formal gatherings.
  • Make-Ahead Friendly: Ideal for preparing ahead of time, making your meal planning easier.

Ingredients Needed to Make James Martin Fish Pie

  • Mixed fish fillets (about 500g or 1.1 lbs), such as salmon, cod, and smoked haddock, cut into chunks
  • Prawns (200g or 0.44 lbs), peeled
  • Leeks (2 medium), finely sliced
  • Carrots (2 medium), diced
  • Frozen peas (100g or 0.22 lbs)
  • Fresh parsley (a handful), chopped
  • Milk (500ml or about 2 cups), for poaching and sauce
  • Heavy cream (100ml or about 0.4 cups), for added richness
  • Butter (50g or 1.76 oz), for sautéing and mashing
  • Flour (2 tablespoons), to thicken the sauce
  • Potatoes (900g or 2 lbs), peeled and quartered for mashing
  • Cheese (100g or 3.5 oz), grated, for topping
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • Large pot for boiling potatoes and poaching fish
  • Colander to drain the potatoes
  • Frying pan for sautéing vegetables
  • A saucepan for making the sauce
  • The oven-proof dish for assembling and baking the pie
  • Potato masher

Instructions to Make James Martin Fish Pie

Step 1: Preparation of Ingredients

  • Preheat the Oven: Start by heating your oven to 190°C (375°F).
  • Poach the Fish: Place the fish fillets and prawns in a pan, cover with milk, and gently simmer for about 4-5 minutes until just cooked. Remove the seafood, reserving the milk for the sauce.
  • Cook the Potatoes: While the fish is poaching, boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Step 2: Making the Sauce

  • Sauté Vegetables: In a saucepan, melt some butter and add the sliced leeks and diced carrots, cooking until soft.
  • Thicken the Sauce: Stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Gradually add the reserved poaching milk, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens.
  • Add Cream: Mix in the heavy cream and bring to a gentle simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 3: Assembling the Pie

  • Combine Fish and Sauce: In the oven-proof dish, lay the poached fish and prawns, sprinkle over the peas and parsley, then pour over the creamy vegetable sauce.
  • Mash the Potatoes: Drain the cooked potatoes, mash with butter, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Top with Mashed Potatoes: Spoon the mashed potatoes over the fish mixture and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
  • Bake: Place the dish in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the topping is golden and bubbling.
Fish Pie Recipe James Martin
James Martin Fish Pie

What Do I Serve With James Martin Fish Pie?

  • Crisp Green Salad: A light, refreshing salad balances the richness of the pie.
  • Steamed Vegetables: Serve with a side of steamed broccoli or green beans for added nutrition.
  • Crusty Bread: Perfect for mopping up any delicious sauce left on the plate.
  • Garlic Butter Asparagus: Tender asparagus spears tossed in garlic butter complement the creamy flavors of the pie.
  • Roasted Root Vegetables: Roast carrots, parsnips, and beets for a hearty and colorful side.
  • White Wine: A crisp, dry white wine pairs beautifully with the creamy seafood flavors.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect James Martin Fish Pie

  • Ensure Freshness: Use the freshest fish possible for the best flavor and texture.
  • Season Well: Don’t forget to season each layer as you build the pie to enhance all the flavors.
  • Let it Set: Allow the pie to sit for a few minutes after baking for easier serving.
  • Use Quality Dairy: Opt for high-quality butter and cream for a richer, more decadent sauce.
  • Layer Textures: Consider adding a layer of sautéed mushrooms or onions for additional texture and flavor.

Variations of James Martin Fish Pie

  • Add Eggs: Hard-boil some eggs, slice them, and layer into the pie for extra richness.
  • Go Cheesy: Mix different types of cheese into the mash for a cheesier crust.
  • Spice it Up: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the sauce for a slight kick.
  • Include Shellfish: Toss in some scallops or mussels for a luxurious twist.
  • Herb Infusion: Infuse the milk with bay leaves and thyme while poaching the fish to deepen the flavor profile.

How do I Store James Martin Fish Pie Leftovers?

Proper storage of leftovers is key to maintaining the freshness and quality of your fish pie for later enjoyment.

  • Cool Before Storing: Allow the pie to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
  • Refrigerate Promptly: Transfer leftovers to an airtight container and refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.
  • Label the Container: Write the date on the container to keep track of how long it’s been stored.
  • Maximize Freshness: Consume refrigerated leftovers within 3 days for the best quality.

How do I Reheat James Martin Fish Pie Leftovers?

Reheating your fish pie correctly can ensure it remains just as delicious as when it was freshly baked.

  • Preheat the Oven: For best results, reheat the pie in an oven preheated to 180°C (350°F).
  • Cover with Foil: Cover the pie with aluminum foil to prevent the top from burning while it heats through.
  • Allow Time to Warm: Heat for about 20-25 minutes, or until hot throughout.
  • Microwave Option: For a quicker method, microwave slices on high for 2-3 minutes, checking periodically.

Nutrition Value (per serving)

  • Calories: 520 kcal
  • Protein: 36 g
  • Fat: 22 g
  • Carbohydrates: 45 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Sugar: 5 g
  • Cholesterol: 120 mg
  • Sodium: 700 mg


What Types of Fish Work Best in James Martin Fish Pie?

The best types of fish for James Martin Fish Pie are firm white fish like cod, haddock, or halibut. Smoked fish such as smoked haddock adds depth of flavor, and oily fish like salmon introduce richness. It’s ideal to use a combination to enhance both texture and taste.

Can James Martin Fish Pie Be Made Ahead of Time?

Yes, James Martin Fish Pie is an excellent make-ahead dish. You can prepare the pie up to the point of baking and store it covered in the refrigerator for up to one day. Alternatively, assemble and freeze the pie; it can be baked straight from frozen, adding an extra 10-15 minutes to the cooking time.

Is James Martin Fish Pie Suitable for Freezing?

James Martin Fish Pie freezes exceptionally well. Assemble the pie, let it cool, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and foil, and freeze for up to 3 months. Bake from frozen or thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

How Can I Thicken the Sauce for James Martin Fish Pie?

To thicken the sauce for James Martin Fish Pie, use a roux made from butter and flour cooked together for a couple of minutes before slowly whisking in the reserved poaching milk. Continue to cook over medium heat until the sauce reaches a creamy consistency. For a gluten-free option, cornstarch mixed with a little cold milk can be used instead of flour.

Final Words

James Martin’s Fish Pie is a true comfort dish that brings warmth and satisfaction to any meal. It’s versatile enough to be tailored to your taste and is sure to become a cherished recipe in your culinary repertoire. Enjoy the process and the delicious results!

This comprehensive guide should help you successfully prepare and enjoy James Martin’s Fish Pie, complete with tips and variations to make it your own. Happy cooking!

More From British Recipes Book:

Leave a Reply