My version of the classic fish omelette Arnold Bennett. Made with flakes of smoky haddock, lightly cooked eggs, and a bechamel flavoured with mustard and Worcestershire.
You might be wondering who Arnold Bennett is and why the hell an omelette is named after him. Spare a thought though for the waiters at London’s Savoy hotel who must get tired of answering this question. Apparently, this classic is still made there on a daily basis since some clever chef invented it in the hotel’s kitchen for the writer decades ago.
The story goes that Arnold was staying at the hotel while writing a novel. One night the chefs whipped up this omelette for his supper and he liked it so much he insisted it be cooked for him wherever he travelled. Hence the name.
Personally, I’m not really that into omelettes. Normally I like my eggs fried or boiled but on this occasion, I have to agree with Mr Bennett this unusual omelette tastes absolutely divine.
Smoked haddock and milk are two ingredients that love each other. In the recipe, the haddock is lightly poached in the milk till just cooked. This infuses the milk with a deep smoky flavour before it’s used to make a traditional bechamel that’s been given a kick with some spicy English mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
The cooked haddock is then folded back into the velvety sauce with some herbs and parmesan cheese. This delicious concoction is then poured over some lightly cooked fluffy eggs and gratinated under a hot grill till bubbling and golden. An ideal brunch dish. Warm eggy comfort on a cold day. Just serve it with a simple salad and some crusty bread.
Those of you who are a bit superstitious might like to know legend has it that you’ll suffer the wrath of Arnold’s ghost if you mess around with the original recipe. The thing is though, I’m not sure if anyone knows just what’s in the original. I’ve seen countless different versions of it in cookbooks and online.
Some recipes call for a bechamel and others are made with a hollandaise. Some have parmesan cheese while others use Gruyère. As well as all sorts of different flavouring and ingredients added to either sauce. So I reckon you can safely pimp out your omelette Arnold Bennett whatever way you please without worrying about being haunted.
I’ve found two factors that contribute to the success of a delicious omelette Arnold Bennett. First, make the sauce just before you’re about to cook your eggs. You want it to be hot as it goes over the eggs. Second, don’t overcook those eggs you want them light, fluffy, and barely cooked. Go easy on the seasoning too. Smoked fish can be a bit salty.
How about you, what do you like to put in an omelette?Print
- 250g (9 oz) smoked haddock
- 200ml (1 cup) milk
- 200g (7 oz) creme fraiche
- 1 bay leaf
- 40g (1 1/2 oz) butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon English mustard
- dash of worcestershire sauce
- 25g parmesan cheese (grated)
- 1 small bunch of chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 6 eggs
- Pour your milk into a sauce pan. Add the creme fraiche and bay leaf and then bring the milk up to the boil.
- Slide in the smoked haddock and poach your fish for about 5 minutes till just cooked.
- Drain the milk from the haddock and set aside. When its cool enough to handle flake the smoked haddock into medium sized pieces.
- Next melt the butter in a sauce pan. Than add the flour and cook the roux on a low heat with out colour for 2 minutes.
- Slowly add in the reserved milk from cooking your haddock and bring the sauce up to the boil. Stir it constantly till it becomes thick and velvety.
- Next add in the English mustard, worcestershire sauce, half the parmesan, parsley, and the flakes of smoked haddock to your sauce.
- Now its time to make the omelette. Beat the eggs together and heat a pan on the stove. When the pan is hot add the oil and then pour in your eggs.
- Allow the eggs to settle on the bottom of the pan and then scrape in the edges of the omelette to the center allowing some of the uncooked egg out to the edges. Remember don’t over cook the eggs.
- When your eggs are barely cooked pour over the sauce, sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and glaze under a hot grill till golden brown.
- Serve your omelette Arnold Bennett with a simple salad and some crusty bread.
Alternative fish – smoked cod or coley.