Omelette Arnold Bennett
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)
17 OMELETTE ARNOLD BENNETT