Any thick white fish can be used for this super family dish.
1/2 kg (1 lb) filleted white fish (haddock, whiting, cod)
400 ml (3/4 pint) milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 black peppercorns
1 onion slice
1 bay leaf
25 g (1 oz) butter
25 g (1 oz) flour
50 g (2 oz) Cheddar cheese, grated
for the topping:
2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
1/2 kg (1 lb) potatoes, boiled and mashed with 25 g (1 oz) butter, 1 tbsp milk and 1 beaten egg
1. Place the fish in an ovenproof dish with the milk, salt, peppercorns, onion and bay leaf. Cover with a lid or foil and bake in a moderate oven (180°C/350°F or Gas Mark 4) for 15 to 20 minutes or until the fish is tender and will flake easily with a fork.
2. Remove the fish from the dish and flake with a fork, discarding any skin. Keep warm. Strain the milk and cooking juices and reserve.
3. Melt the butter in a pan. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually add the reserved cooking juices, stirring vigorously.
4. When all the juices have been incorporated, return the pan to the heat and slowly bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the grated cheese and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook the sauce for 2 to 3 minutes or until the cheese melts into the sauce, stirring constantly.
5. Fold the flaked fish into the cheese sauce, then transfer to a deep ovenproof dish. Place the sliced hard-boiled eggs in a layer on top of the fish and the mashed potatoes on top of the eggs.
6. Mark the potato with the back of a fork and bake on the top shelf of a fairly hot oven (200°C/400°F or Gas Mark 6) for 10 to 15 minutes or until the potato topping is golden-brown. Serve straight from the cooking dish.
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