Smart Recipes with Umami

Stargazy Pie

  • Umami-rich Recipes with Seafood

Stargazy Pie is a traditional South-West England speciality using crusty pie pastry and fresh sardines caught off the Cornish coast. We've adapted it, and created a fantastic fish pie with celeriac mash replacing the crusty pastry. The fish is filleted and chopped, so it is easier to eat. 

Like mackerel, sardines are a super-food from the sea. They're rich in the Umami components Inosinate and Glutamate, and high in Omega 3 unsaturated fatty acids.⠀

For the filling⠀

1kg whole sardines** cleaned, with heads on⠀
2tsp oil⠀
200g cubed pancetta or bacon*⠀
175g onion*⠀
200g leek*⠀
50ml cider⠀
50ml crme frache⠀
100ml stock*⠀
1 tbsp English mustard⠀
salt & pepper⠀
3 hard boiled eggs*⠀
a handful of parsley leaves*⠀
1 tbsp flour and salt to sprinkle over the heads⠀

For the mash⠀

1 celeriac*⠀
500g potatoes*⠀
50ml crme frache⠀
1tsp nutritional yeast*⠀
50ml milk⠀
2 tbsp capers⠀
salt & pepper⠀
We used a 10in/26.5cm diameter pie dish⠀


- Cut the sardine heads off just behind the gill, and put six of them to one side, with a tail or two if you wish.⠀
- Open out the fish by sliding your fingers along the bones. While doing so, lift the bones off the flesh, and discard.⠀
Peel off the skin, fins, and tails. Chop the fillets into bite-sized pieces.⠀
- Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the pancetta. Stir until the fat is released.⠀
- Add chopped onion and leek. Cook until they are soft.⠀
- Pour in the cider, crme frache, stock, and mustard. Cook for 10 min. on low heat.⠀
- Season with salt and pepper, and add the chopped boiled egg and chopped parsley.⠀
- Peel the celeriac and potato, then chop roughly. Cover with cold water and cook until they are soft.⠀
- Drain and mash them. Add the crme frache, nutritional yeast, milk, and capers. Mix well.⠀
- Pour the filling mix into the pie dish and cover with the mash.⠀
- Rake the surface with a fork to make a wavy pattern.⠀
- Dust the sardine heads with flour and salt. Stand them up in the mash.⠀
- Bake in the oven at 200ºC/392ºF for 45 min. If the heads start to burn, cover them with foil.