Plaice in Savoury Custard

Another from 500 Recipes – Electric Mixers and Blenders by Marguerite Patten (Hamlyn, 1972). I’ve managed to take a picture of the cover this time round, isn’t it lovely?

patten 003

And here’s the rear:

patten rear005I don’t even want to think what that dish in the foreground is.

Now, savoury custard really doesn’t sound at all up my strasse – I don’t like custards (apart from in pastel de nata), and usually anything with the word ‘savoury’ as a prefix fills me with vague apprehension.  It suggests someone has taken something fun, and unfunned it. So why I chose to make this is a mystery, though I suspect the answer involves the simplicity of the recipe. It’s also one of those recipes where the end result looks completely different to how you expected (mind you, I have never been good at visualising recipes).

Plaice in Savoury Custard

4 medium sized fillets of plaice


1/2 – 1 oz butter

2 eggs

1/2 pint milk

2-3oz Cheddar cheese

Small sprig of parsley

1 Skin the fillets of plaice; to do this, insert the tip of a sharp knife under the skin at the tail end of each fillet and ease the fish away from the skin; if you dip the knife into a little salt the skin is removed more easily

2 Put the fish into a well-buttered dish, season lightly

3 Put the eggs, milk, tiny knob of butter left from greasing the dish, plus the cheese and parsley into the blender goblet, switch gradually to medium until well blended, season lightly

4 Allow to stand for a short time for any bubbles to ‘subside’ from the top of the custard, pour over the fish and bake in the centre of a very moderate oven (300-350F, Gas Mark 3) until set. If the milk was cold when added to the eggs etc, this will take approximately 1 hour, if hot about 45-50 minutes.


plaice 022


  • I didn’t realise quite how blunt my kitchen knives were until I tried to skin the plaice. There really is a lot to be said for knife sharpeners.
  • Everything else went as indicated, no problems at all.
  • The ambiguity of Patten strikes again in Point 5 – ‘If the milk was cold when added to the eggs’ she says, and I think ‘why on earth would the milk be hot? You’ve not mentioned for us to heat the milk – are we now to randomly heat milk whilst cooking? No, lady. If the ingredient list says ‘milk’, it is COLD MILK. Don’t come at me in the final point of the recipe and suggest I could have warmed the milk. This is not fair!
  • The dish is flat and solid – I’d imagined the fish fillets with a liquidy custard to pour over. I am so naive sometimes! The fish was well and truly trapped in the custard.
  • The taste – it was ok.  The fish was a little overdone, I think the cooking time is generous, and if you’re doing this recipe I’d definitely check its progress sooner rather than later.

Plaiced by Alix


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