Monday, April 30, 2007

Stargazey Pie: An Adventure in Food

This is one of those odd stories that pops up once in a while. A couple of weeks ago we saw Ladies in Lavender (2004), a very sweet film set in Cornwall, in which - in one scene - a dish is served called "Stargazey Pie." This pie is so called because it's made with pilchards or herring - whole ones - whose heads poke out of the pie crust and gaze heavenwards.

I made this years ago for a Celtic-themed party. The bottom crust is laid, the innards are basically the whole fish laid on their sides - tails in the middle, heads to the outside - and an eggy mixture is used to fill the rest of the pie. The crust is laid on top with slits made in it for the heads to poke out (as though the fish were all tucked into bed) and so they bake, their glassey eyes turned upwards. The idea is that the oils in the head drain down into the pie. Mmmmm.... (Homer Simpson-type sounds): fish-head-oil... drool...

Well, I had a hell of a time finding whole small fish. I think I ended up with smelts from the St. Lawrence Market. I seem to recall only one person at the party liked the pie (he'd had it before) and he had two big pieces. I didn't repeat it.... but one day I will. Mwah-ha-ha-haaaaa!

1 comment:

Saucepot said...

Hmmmm, fish pie! I enjoy fish and it sounds like an interesting recipe. However, having my dinner look at me might be a little strange. Even stranger if some of the eyes are missing. I know you told me that you'd keep an eye out for me but really! hee hee