Fish & Fennel Pie with Herb Crumbs

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Creating inventive, delicious dishes can be difficult if you’ve got guests or family members with food sensitivities. As well, many successful diets may preclude the use of wheat, dairy, or other foods found in many recipes. This recipe is delicious and offers an alternative if you’re feeding individuals with special dietary considerations.

The crust for this pie uses starchy sweet potatoes and rice flour. Rice produces fine, flavourless flour, but you may substitute lentil or bean flour. One note to consider if you elect to substitute a different gluten free option for the rice flour, is to avoid nut flours, since they tend to have particular flavours and contain oils that will change the balance of moisture in the dough.

Many individuals who are not sensitive to dairy do not purchase non-dairy beverages on a regular basis. If this is the case for you, don’t feel you must go out and purchase almond milk specifically for this recipe. While the filling calls for non-dairy milk, it’s perfectly acceptable to use cow’s milk instead. Dairy won’t impact the flavour of the dish at all.


800g of any firm, white fish, boned and scaled (Butcherman Barramundi, Perch or John Dory fillets recommended)

Herb Crust:
400g stale gluten free bread crumbs
¼ c fresh parsley leaves
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
30ml olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper

1 large onion, sliced thinly
2 small green chillies, seeded and finely diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
250g fennel bulb, sliced thinly
60g rice flour
60ml olive oil
300ml almond milk
¼ cup fresh dill chopped or 2 tbsp dried
Salt to taste

Pie Crust:
160-200g rice flour
1 tsp salt
1 large egg, beaten
350g cooked sweet potato


Ahead of time, peel and cut up your sweet potatoes, cook them until fork-tender, and allow them to cool slightly. Over medium heat, mash the sweet potatoes until you attain a smooth consistency. Scrape into a bowl and allow it to cool slightly before beating in the egg and salt. Next, add the rice flour. Mix it first with a heatproof spatula, then with your hands, to form a tender dough. Don’t be afraid to add a bit more flour if the dough is too wet. Once you’ve completed this, wrap the dough tightly and refrigerate it while you prepare your pie filling.

Chop your fish fillets into 2cm cubes and refrigerate until ready to use. You can do this at any point in your preparation.

Next, saute the fennel, onion, and garlic in your olive oil, adding 100ml of water and a dash of salt once the onions begin to soften. Bring the mixture to a boil and cover it, cooking for 5 minutes. Then, uncover and continue to cook until the water has completely evaporated—about ten minutes.

Evenly add the portion of rice flour you’ve set aside and add the milk or non-dairy substitute. Boil this until the mixture begins to thicken. Then, remove the pan from the heat and add your chopped dill and chillies. Refrigerate the mixture until you’re ready to put the pie together.

You can use these crumbs immediately, or make enough to store some in the freezer for a future pie adventure. Using a food processor, grind your gluten free bread and garlic together, creating coarse crumbs. Add the parsley, grinding the mixture again. This will result in a brilliant green colour, which is exactly what you want. Incorporate the salt, pepper, and olive oil, pulsing the food processor to ensure that the oil is evenly distributed.

Incorporate the fish cubes you’ve made into the filling. Roll out your dough, using a bit of rice flour to keep it friendly. Then, gently line muffin tins that you’ve oiled or a deep-dish pie tin that has been similarly oiled with the rolled dough. Spoon in the fish filling, top with crumbs, and bake at 190C for 45 minutes.

This is one of the easiest dishes to make if you’re expecting guests who have complex dietary needs. Not only is it simple to create, but it’s so delicious that your guests would never guess they’re eating gluten-free, dairy-free delicacy. Everyone will love this rich, herbed fish pie.

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