Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fisherman's Pie

I can't believe it's been over a year and a half since I ran my first marathon. I also can't believe I recovered and am still walking around today. I will never say never, but I don't have a strong desire to run another one. The race I did enjoy was the half-marathon I did a few months before the full. I think it had something to do with the fact that I had the entire fall to be dedicated to training and perfect weather to motivate me. And also, Witt and I had just gotten engaged and he was my encouragement, signing me up for the half marathon to prepare me for the real one, driving ten miles down the road to wait for me with another bottle of Gatorade during the my long runs on the weekend, shopping with me for running clothes.

The half marathon felt great. Then January came and with it a lot of icy, cold weather and along with that, stress with school and planning the wedding (we wanted to get married in six months) and suddenly it felt much better to sit inside on the couch and snuggle and write papers then brave frost bite and frozen lungs. Plus, the excitement of helping me train had fizzled I think. Now, Witt was having to deal with bridesmaid issues, decisions about decorations he really didn't care about, and me, complaining about running. One of my problems in life (my only weakness, I promise) is that when I don't want to do something, I never quit, I just make it about as miserable as possible. Anyway, I let the ball slip and did not train hard enough for the full and when I ran the marathon it was incredibly painful. The only reason I finished was probably because of my crazy, incredibly strong aunt, who ran it with me and wouldn't let us stop. I can still hear her voice, shouting in my ear, "This is what separates the weak from the strong!" Childbirth is apparently bad, but when your entire body writhes in pain, your arm pits are scraping against your skin like sandpaper and your bones feel like they are cracking with each step, and you look up and see that you have at least two more hours to go, it's pretty much the worst feeling. I am glad I ran it, however, and really glad we finished in a surprisingly good time of 4 hours and 30 minutes.

All this to say, I am excited about training for this year's half marathon, because once you race, I think it's always in your blood. My younger sister and sister-in-law are running it with me, so training them will keep me motivated. And since I have been running lately, I don't feel bad about eating this deliciously heavy Fisherman's Pie, covered in rich mashed potatoes. Of course, you may have to use a crane to get me off the couch- but it was worth it.

I promised to share a fish recipe, and the reason it has taken me so long is that most of the fish from the trip is in our friend Adam's freezer and also I ruined the first grouper dish I attempted. It was going to be pecan crusted and flaky inside, but it ended up being mushy crusted and tough inside. Not the best start to my fish adventures. I am happy to show this dish however, because it was really delicious. I am obviously not a seafood expert and so to get an idea of what I wanted to do I looked at this funky cookbook here.

Gypsy Slow Down

 Fisherman's Pie is like Shepard's Pie in that is has a potato covering and yummy meat and sauce underneath. I liked the combination of the mushrooms, shrimp and grouper in this one and the flavors were simple, like an old man with a beard living alone in the lighthouse had whipped it up straight from the sea (very romantic). Here is the recipe, which I modified a bit from the cookbook.

Fisherman's Pie (serves 6)

2 lb white fish fillets
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 tbsp chopped parsley
7 tbsp butter, plus extra for greasing
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
16 ounces shrimp, shelled and cooked
3 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/2 cup heavy cream, plus a splash for the potatoes
2 lb russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tsp garlic salt
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8 cup baking dish. Place fish fillets in dish. Season well with salt and pepper, pour over the wine and sprinkle with parsley.

Gypsy Slow Down

Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 15 minutes until the fish starts to flake. Strain off and reserve the liquid for the sauce. Increase the oven to 425.

Melt 1 tbsp butter in a skillet over medium heat, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Spoon over the fish in dish. Sprinkle over the shrimp. 

Gypsy Slow Down

 Heat 4 tbsp of the remaining butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Cook for 3-4 minutes without browning, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and gradually add the reserved cooking liquid, stirring well after each addition. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour over the fish in the fish and smooth over the surface.

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, add the potatoes and cook for 15-20 minutes. Drain well and mix in a mixer until smooth. Add a splash of heavy cream, the remaining butter and the garlic salt and mix well. Season with salt and pepper.

Pipe or pile the potatoes over the fish and sauce and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot.

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