Just a few months ago, Sheperd's Pie was a go-to dinner in my house. I regard it as the epitome of comfort food as it never fails to make those long, cold winter nights more bearable. Well, the red wine I drink with it doesn't hurt either.
However, now that the weather's getting warmer, it's time to shift from bulky sweaters and oversized sweats to shorts, tank tops and bathing suits. You may be thinking that Sheperd's Pie Season must end when Daylight Savings Season begins. Fear not! With a few simple swaps, you can enjoy this quintessential comforting meal all year long. After trying our lightened-up version, you may be inspired to lighten up some of your favorite winter comfort foods. If so, drop us a line. We'd love to know how you're eating healthier!
And, who says that crackers are only for topping with chunks of cheese or dollops of hummus? We don't have to be confined to smearing our crackers with nut butters and jam. We've thought outside the (cracker) box and turned our crackers into a crunchy, delicious topping that adds amazing flavor and texture to the dish. Give it a try, you won't be disappointed!
Wild Salmon Sheperd's Pie
For the potato-cauliflower topping:
1 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, washed and cut into 1-inch chunks
- Good pinch of salt for the water
8 ounces cauliflower, chopped into florets (about 2 heaping cups)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup low-fat milk (or oat milk, soy milk, almond milk...)
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 teaspoon each: garlic powder and onion powder
about 1 cup of vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 box of Onesto Everything crackers (crushed into small pieces)
For the salmon filling:
1 pound wild salmon with the skin still on, small bones removed
- 1-2 tablespoons of miso paste
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 large carrots, diced
1 large celery stalk, diced
1 teaspoon garlic powder or 2 cloves of garlic minced
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more if needed
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup fresh or frozen English peas
1/2 cup white wine (substitute chicken broth, if desired)
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce
- 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
Cooking the mashed potatoes and salmon:
- Preheat the oven to 425°F
- Using a food processor or a plastic bag and a rolling pin, crush the crackers into the consistency of large flake panko breadcrumbs and set aside.
- Put the potatoes into a large pot and cover with cold water. Add enough water to the pot that the potatoes are submerged by at least 2 inches of water. Sprinkle in a good pinch of salt. Bring to a boil over high heat.
- While you are waiting for the potatoes to boil, put the salmon on a piece of foil (skin side down) and place on a sheet pan or casserole dish. Coat the flesh with the miso paste. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 12 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove from oven and break into small chunks and discard the skin. Set aside.
- After the potatoes have boiled for at least 2 minutes, add cauliflower florets and cook until both the potatoes and the cauliflower are tender enough that they break apart easily when pierced with a fork (at least 5-7 minutes of cooking). Drain well and return to the cooking pot.
- Now add the olive oil, milk, salt, and several grinds of black pepper to the pot of potatoes and cauliflower. Use a potato masher to blend everything into a creamy mash. Slowly add some of the vegetable broth to get the consistency you like. Taste and add more salt or pepper as needed. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and sauté until they begin to soften, about 4 minutes.
- Add the garlic, pinch of salt, and a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper. Sauté until carrots lose their raw crunch (about 8 minutes). Add the peas, wine, chicken broth, and Worcestershire/soy sauce.
- Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces, and the alcohol burns off, about 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.
- Add the salmon and the dill to the simmering vegetables and turn off the heat.
Assembling the pie:
- Transfer the salmon and vegetable mixture to a casserole dish, and evenly spread out.
- Spoon the cauliflower/potato mash evenly over the mixture. Scatter the crushed cracker crumbs on top. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and/or vegetable broth.
Baking the pie:
Set the casserole dish on a baking sheet and bake until the juices bubble and the top is lightly browned, about 20 minutes. * If you notice the cracker crumb burning, place a sheet of foil over the top for the last 10 minutes of baking.
Remove from the oven and top with more fresh dill and serve with a dry, white wine.