Omelette Arnold Ben­nett

The Observer Food Monthly - - 20 BEST BRUNCH RECIPES - Blanche Vaughan

The omelette that the writer Arnold Ben­nett asked the chef at the Savoy to make for him was pre­pared a lit­tle dif­fer­ently to this, but I’d like to thank him all the same for the in­spi­ra­tion.

SERVES 4–6 For the poached had­dock smoked had­dock fil­let 300g milk 300ml cloves 2 pep­per­corns ½ tsp bay leaf 1 pars­ley stalks a small bunch

onion 1 , thickly sliced le­mon zest 3 strips

For the bechamel but­ter 25g plain flour 20g le­mon zest of 1 flat-leaf pars­ley 1 tbsp, finely chopped tar­ragon leaves 6, finely chopped sea salt and freshly ground black pep­per

For the omelette but­ter 10g eggs 6, lightly beaten parme­san 20g, grated sea salt and freshly ground black pep­per


Cut the had­dock fil­let into three pieces so that it will fit com­fort­ably in a medium pan. Pour over the milk; add the rest of the poach­ing in­gre­di­ents. Bring to the boil and then sim­mer un­til cooked; this should take 5-10 min­utes, de­pend­ing on the thick­ness of the fil­let.

Re­move the had­dock with a slot­ted spoon and set aside. Strain the milk into a jug, dis­card­ing the solid re­mains.

Now make the sauce. Melt the but­ter in a pan over a medium heat, add the flour and cook for a minute so it starts to bubble and be­come slightly nutty. Pour the warm re­served milk in the pan and give it a good whisk. Bring it to the boil and cook for a minute, whisk­ing, un­til it thick­ens to a smooth sauce.

Flake the poached had­dock fil­let and add to the sauce with the le­mon zest and chopped herbs. Stir well and taste for sea­son­ing – the had­dock will be fairly salty but you will need to add some black pep­per. (Up to this point, ev­ery­thing can be done in ad­vance.) Pre­heat the grill to its high­est set­ting. Melt the but­ter in a medium-sized omelette pan or oven­proof fry­ing pan. Sea­son the eggs with salt and pep­per and when the but­ter is foam­ing, pour the eggs into the pan and tilt to cover the sur­face of the pan.

Ag­i­tate it lightly with a fork to move the eggs over the heat of the pan. When it starts to set, lift up the sides, tilt­ing the pan so the un­cooked mix­ture flows un­der­neath. The omelette will be­come gen­tly ruck­led. When there is just a small amount of un­cooked mix­ture on the top, re­move from the heat.

Spread the had­dock mix­ture over the top of the omelette and scat­ter over the parme­san. Place un­der the hot grill for 5-10 min­utes, or un­til the cheese is melted and browned.

From Egg by Blanche Vaughan (Wei­den­feld & Ni­col­son, £22)


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