Homely Stargazy Pie
Children love the idea of foods with funny names. I love foods with funny names. So my theme for a while will be delicious dishes with amusing names. The English take the cake when it comes to such things. Bubble and Squeak, Cock-a-Leekie, Roly-Poly Pudding, Toad-in-the-Hole, Spotted Dick, and Eton Mess are some of the most famous examples. But delightfully, there are many others. And many of them figure prominently in children’s books. My favorite of all, name wise, is Stargazy Pie. It just sounds so dreamy and romantic. Something the Shelleys may have dined on with Lord Byron. But the truth is prosaic. They probably never tasted it since it’s a Cornish dish and regional food stayed regional in those days. But the dish is not without romance. In Mousehole, Cornwall December storms prevented the fisherman from going to sea and the villagers were near starving. Finally, one brave soul attempted to fish, risking his life, but he was successful. He shared his catch with the village and they made fish pie just before Christmas. The pie appears in the lovely children’s book, “The Mousehole Cat” by Antonia Barber in which a cat with her own point of view relates the tale. Stargazy Pie also appears in “Pie in the Sky” British television police-foodie-comedy starring the late Richard Griffiths.
The traditional pie, made with pilchards or sardines is probably a bit much for American tastes, but I’ve revised it, changing the fish to the ever-popular salmon and using headless sardines. The point of the pie is to place several whole sardines with their heads sticking out of the pie as if they were gazing upward.
- 1 or 2 yellow onions
- 1 or two potatoes
- Salt, pepper, dill
- Skinned, boned, salmon fillets,
- A prepared piecrust or puff paste
- Litter the bottom of a greased pie plate or baking dish with chopped or sliced onions.
- Peel and thinly slice a potato or two.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and dill,
- Place boned, skinned fillet of salmon on the vegetables.
- Season and place a couple knobs of butter on the salmon.
- Cover with a lightly rolled piecrust or puff paste.
- Cut ½ inch slits and place the sardines in the slits to appear swimming.
- Paint the crust with cream or egg wash.
- Bake at 400 for 30 minutes till golden brown.
Serve with hard cider.
Image By: seasalthcornwall.com