160g freekeh, cooked, drained, chilled
150g cold butter, cut into small cubes
80g parmesan, finely grated
100g flour
1 cup chopped parsley, loosely packed (I use curly parsley)
2 bulbs Florence fennel
3 tablespoons olive oil
1kg snapper
850ml milk
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1-2 pinches freshly grated nutmeg
50g butter
50g flour
½ cup roughly chopped fresh dill
½ cup chopped flat-leafed parsley

For me, snapper has always been associated with summer and brings back memories of holidays at the bach in Russell, when Dad would venture out on the boat in the morning and catch snapper. Mum would then fillet the fish ready for a late breakfast on the deck. To this day, it’s my perfect breakfast. Although this recipe states snapper, I’ve used hāpuku, blue warehou and tarakihi before, and they all work well. The pie can be made in advance and cooked when ready, so it’s ideal for brunch, lunch or dinner.


The crumble topping makes more than you will need, so store it in your chiller for up to five days and use it to top a different pot pie flavour.

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2.Combine all the ingredients in a food processor (the freekeh and butter must be chilled).
3.Pulse until all ingredients combine and resemble a rough crumble mixture. Chill.
5.Cut the fennel thinly into slices about 2-3mm thick (I use a mandolin for this).
6.Cook in a saucepan with the olive oil until softish, but not too soft and don’t let it colour. Set aside once it is cooked.
7.Lightly butter a shallow baking dish.
8.Put in the fish (in a single layer if possible) and pour over the milk.
9.Add the bay leaves, peppercorns and a very fine grating of nutmeg.
10.Put over a moderate heat, turning it down just before the milk boils.
11.Leave to simmer gently for 5-10 minutes, until the fish is opaque and just cooked.
12.Turn off the heat, remove the fish, strain the poaching milk and reserve.
13.Flake the fish into pieces and set aside.
14.Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook until the flour is cooked, about 5 minutes.
15.Pour in the strained milk and stir over a moderate heat until smooth.
16.Reduce the heat and continue to cook until you have a smooth, creamy sauce, about 10 minutes.
17.Fold in the fennel, herbs and some seasoning, then mix until combined. Gently fold in the fish.
18.Brush the base and sides of a pie dish (use one large pie dish or individual ones) with olive oil, spoon in the pie filling, then top with about 1½cm of crumble mixture.
19.Bake at 200°C fan bake, until the pie filling is bubbling at the sides and golden and crunchy on top, about 15-20 minutes depending on how shallow or deep your pie dish is.

Recipes & food styling Marc Weir / Photography Amber-Jayne Bain