The Boathouse is a restaurant in Glebe, Sydney whose signature dish is this snapper pie. Their pie is so famous and so delicious that I’ve never ordered anything else when I’ve dined there, nor has anyone else I know. If I were them I would simplify life and just take everything else off the menu, apart perhaps from their freshly shucked oysters. It’s one of those genius recipes that combine a few ingredients and turns them into something magical. The fish in the pie is cooked in a simple sauce soubise which is a classical French sauce made from onions. Now one wouldn’t normally think of pairing fish with a sauce soubise but it works incredibly well and topped with some truffle oil and buttery, flaky pastry it’s fish pie nirvana. The Boathouse serves their pie with a side of mash and a smoked whole tomato (another unusual pairing which again works a treat) but for ease, I prefer to serve it at home with some steamed green beans and home made crusty garlic bread to dip into the pie once the pastry has gone.
Ingredients – makes 4 individual pies
600g snapper, skinned, de-boned and cut into 4 cm pieces
3 tablespoons best quality white truffle oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 packet of all pre-rolled, all butter puff pastry
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
750g onions, thinly sliced
150ml fish stock, if you can’t find very good quality fish stock use chicken stock instead
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
For the soubise sauce , heat the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large heavy based saucepan. Add sliced onions and 1 teaspoon sea salt and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for 30 minutes or until onions are very soft and golden, you want to achieve a nice deep colour on the onions without scorching them. Add the stock and simmer until reduced by half . Add cream and simmer until reduced by half, then remove from heat and cool.
For the fish pie, preheat oven to 220C. Heat the remaining olive oil in a small saucepan and cook the finely chopped onion, stirring occasionally over medium heat for 10 minutes or until soft. Process cream mixture in a food processor until smooth, then transfer sauce to a bowl. Stir in chopped onions and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of soubise sauce into the base of 4 ovenproof dishes and add a layer of snapper pieces.
Drizzle with some truffle oil and repeat layers to fill each dish 2cm from top. Place the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut out pieces that are 3cm larger than your dishes. Cover pies with pastry, pressing pastry to side of dish and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden and puffed. Stand pies for 5 minutes before serving.