Pirate's pie

Gluten free. Serves 4 - 6

This is the kind of pie I would make for my pirate husband, when he returned from the seas, with a handful of freshly caught fish. This needs a hot oven to reduce the tomato, giving it a deep and rounded taste. The best result will be gained by using a cast iron baking dish, but if not, use a stainless steel or enamel baking dish, with a slightly higher heat in the oven. I would be serving this with much red wine, and lashings of greens. Use strongly flavoured, sustainable oily fish such as Sea Mullet, Red Mullet or Herring.

700 gm potatoes (larger are better) washed and skin on sea salt 4 good sized garlic cloves good pinch sea salt 1 well packed cup basil leaves 2 stems of fresh oregano, leaves only (about 12 leaves) 3 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar 2 x 410 gm tins tomatoes 30 gm unsalted butter 500 gm strongly flavoured fish fillets - checked over for bones if desired freshly ground black pepper 1/2 - 1 cup Kalamata olives, seeds removed and roughly chopped


Preheat oven to 220C or 200C if fan forced.

Bring a good sized pot of water, with a generous pinch of salt to the boil. Add the potatoes and cook until they are nearly, but not cooked - they should offer some resistance to a skewer. Time will depend on their size. Take care not to overcook. Drain well and set aside.

Add the garlic, good pinch sea salt to a motor and pestle and pound a little. Add the basil and oregano and pound until you have a lovely paste. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and balsamic and mix through. If you have a large mortar, I like to add some tomatoes, so I get all the flavour. If not, simply turn out the garlic and herbs into the tomatoes and mix through well. If the tomatoes are whole, make sure you mush them up well - hands are fine.

Add the butter to a baking dish (mine is 31 x 20cm - measured at the base) and place over a gentle heat to melt. If your dish is not flameproof you will need to melt your butter and pour it into the dish. Add the tomato sauce and spread to cover the base. Lay the fish fillets on top – they will sink into the sauce. Sprinkle with the olives and a little pepper.

Slice the potatoes approx 1/2 cm thick and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and toss through. Lay the potatoes attractively in rows on top of the fish. Drizzle any remaining oil left on the tray, onto the potatoes. Place in oven for 30 mins - the tomato sauce should be bubbling as it cooks and, when finished, should be well reduced. If the potatoes are not golden, place under a hot grill for approx 10 mins to finish the job.