Homely Stargazy Pie
Children love the idea of foods with funny
names. I love foods with funny
names. So my theme for awhile 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 favourite 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 used 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
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
Season and place a couple knobs of butter
on the salmon.
Cover with a lightly rolled piecrust or
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 til golden
Serve with hard cider.