Fish pies were often made into the shape of the fish being eaten, such as lobster, crab, salmon, or carp, and the crust embellished with elaborate pastry scales, fins, gills, and other details.
This recipe includes artichokes and asparagus, both considered aphrodisiacs in Elizabethan England. Artichokes originated in Sicily and were introduced into England by the Dutch. King Henry VIII’s fondness for artichokes was legendary, and he had them grown in his castle gardens. Artichokes, asparagus, and salmon were all expensive delicacies in Shakespeare’s day enjoyed only by the nobility and wealthy.
- Store-bought or homemade pie dough
- 1 package frozen artichokes
- 1 salmon fillet (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into twelve 2- by 3-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 can smoked oysters
- 12 asparagus stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 24 green seedless grapes or gooseberries, cut in half
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pistachio nuts
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 3 lemons, cut in wedges
Roll out slightly less than one-half of the dough into a 5- by 13-inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Place the artichokes in a long line down the center of the crust. Sprinkle the salmon with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg and place over the artichokes. Arrange the oysters, asparagus, green grapes, and coarsely chopped pistachios over the salmon.
Roll out the remaining dough into a 5- by 13-inch rectangle and place on top of the ingredients. Trim the dough into the shape of a fish and pinch the edges to seal. Using the excess dough, add fish details, such as an eye or fin. Using a teaspoon, imprint scale and tail marks on the dough, being careful not to cut through the dough. Brush with the egg and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Bake the pie for 40 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve with lemon wedges.
Recipe reprinted with permission from “Shakespeare’s Kitchen: Renaissance Recipes for the Contemporary Cook” by Francine Segan. Published by Random House.