So if you ever get down to New Orleans come down to the Saturday night fish pie…
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Saturday Night Fish Fry, by Louis Jordan and Ellis Walsh, was first recorded in 1949, topping the R&B charts and also reaching #21 in the national chart – a rare accomplishment for a “race record” (crossover appeal of such records is one of the major plot lines in Dreamgirls). This song was also described by Chuck Berry as one of the first rock and roll records and had been covered by numerous artists over the year. It was also, of course, included in the Louis Jordan 1990s juke-box musical, Five Guys Named Mole. Sorry, Moe. We’ve mentioned this show once or twice… surely this show must be due a revival? (Hopefully the recent production at the Edinburgh Christmas Festival is the start of this!!) The song’s lyrics provide a great narrative used to great effect on stage:
Now if you’ve ever been down to New Orleans
Then you can understand just what I mean
All through the week it’s quiet as a mouse
But on Saturday night they go from house to house
So, there I was making a fish pie for friends one Saturday evening when Saturday Night Fish Pie/Fry popped into my head… and never knowingly letting a sleeping pun lie unused, I shared it with my co-editors and, after not very much arm-twisting, a blog post was born…
It was rockin’, (Oh yeah-yeah)
It was rockin’, (Having a real good time)
You never seen such scufflin’
And shufflin’ ’til the break of dawn
Or at least 11:30!
This recipe is based on Jamie Oliver’s Fantastic Fish Pie from his second (and, in my opinion, best) book, The Return Of The Naked Chef. It’s a very simple version of fish pie – the sauce is just cream and lemon juice (rather than a fiddly bechamel-based sauce) and the topping is just crushed potatoes (rather than full on piped mash). Despite the simplicity, the flavours are fantastic making the title of the dish very appropriate. I also prefer his use of unsmoked fish – which can of course be substituted in if you disagree!
The recipe isn’t available on-line in any official way (despite originating from a BBC TV series) but is described in detail on the official JamieOliver.com forum where one assumes its presence must be, at least, tolerated!
It’s a great recipe for adapting: I tend to use a mix of salmon and a white fish (usually cod or haddock, but mackerel on this occasion) which I arrange in a checker board pattern to give each portion a bit of both. I’ve added peas alongside the spinach (which I have often substituted for sautéed leeks) and scattered some prawns/shrimps, again trying to make sure each portion gets at least one (scallops are another good addition). Lastly, I included a stick of celery with the carrots and onions and also half a glass of dry white wine, allowing the alcohol to boil off prior to the addition of the cream. Oh – and I usually double the quantities.
Before we could even bat an eye
We were right in the middle of a big fish PIE!