Luxury Scottish Fish on Friday and a Classic Recipe – Omelette Arnold Bennett

Omelette Arnold Bennett

Luxury Scottish Fish on Friday

and a Classic Recipe

~ Omelette Arnold Bennett ~

Arnold Bennett (27 May 1867 – 27 March 1931) was a British writer. Often after having been to the theatre in London he visited the Savoy Hotel’s Grillroom. The chef added haddock, cream and Parmesan cheese to the basic omelette and called the new dish “Omelette Arnold Bennett” in his customer’s honour, although other stories say that he was staying there at the time, whilst writing Imperial Palace and he first had this new concoction for breakfast.

Omelette Arnold Bennett

Sometimes it’s nice to rediscover a classic, and especially one that uses fine smoked haddock as its principal ingredient, as well as free-range eggs of course. I haven’t made an Omelette Arnold Bennett for a while now, and indeed it was not my intention to post this recipe today – I had other fishy posts to share, but, when I received a box of fresh Scottish fish from John and Delish Fish yesterday and saw that there were some smoked haddock fillets nestled amongst all of the other delicious packs of fish, tea time’s meal was set……it was to be an Omelette Arnold Bennett! This oddly named omelette is a wonderful classic in British culinary history; whilst staying at the Savoy Hotel in London during the 1920′s, the chefs perfected an omelette incorporating smoked haddock, Parmesan cheese and cream, which pleased the author so much he insisted on it being prepared wherever he travelled. The ‘Omelette Arnold Bennett’ has remained a Savoy standard dish ever since, and is beloved of all cooks who work in hotels and bed and breakfast establishments.

Delish Fish Smoked Haddock

It’s not hard to make this classic recipe if the smoked haddock is prepared as wonderfully as the fillets I received, which were boned and skinned already. But, the original recipe is a little tricky and involves several methods including making a béchamel or hollandaise sauce;  it is a truly wonderful creation, a  fluffy open-faced omelette made with smoked finnan haddock and fresh free-range eggs, oven baked in the final stages to achieve a golden brown top. So, to bring this recipe right up to date and to aid a travel worn and busy chef, that’s me, I adapted the original recipe mercilessly and came up with this version which is simplicity itself. I have still retained the essential elements of smoked haddock, eggs and Parmesan cheese, but have replaced the fiddly sauces and cooking methods with a crème fraîche mixture that is lighter and not as rich. I hope you enjoy this as much as we all did last night, served simply with brown bread and butter and some lemon slices……..watercress and salad leaves also make a great accompaniment to this lovely and luxurious omelette.

The omelette just before baking

Omelette Arnold Bennett

Serves 3 to 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 5 minutes
Total time 20 minutes
Allergy Egg, Fish, Milk
Meal type Breakfast, Lunch, Main Dish, Side Dish, Snack, Starter
Misc Gourmet, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Occasion Casual Party, Christmas, Formal Party
Region British
By author Karen S Burns-Booth
The writer Arnold Bennett was so delighted with the egg, smoked haddock and parmesan concoction that chefs at the Savoy created for him, he insisted on it being made wherever he travelled. And at the Savoy, Omelette Arnold Bennett remains a standard dish to this day.

Ingredients

  • 300g smoked haddock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns
  • milk for poaching
  • 8 tablespoons crème fraîche
  • 2 lemons, zest only
  • 225g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • large bunch of fresh chives, finely chopped
  • black pepper
  • 9 large free-range eggs
  • butter for frying

Note

The writer Arnold Bennett was so delighted with the egg, smoked haddock and parmesan concoction that chefs at the Savoy created for him, he insisted on it being made wherever he travelled. And at the Savoy, Omelette Arnold Bennett remains a standard dish to this day.

Directions

Step 1 Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 or preheat the grill.
Step 2 Place the smoked haddock pieces into a large frying pan or wok that has a lid, pour over the milk and add bay leaves and peppercorns.
Gently poach over a low heat for 10-12 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
Step 3 Whilst the haddock is poaching, mix the crème fraîche with the lemon zest, grated parmesan and most of the chives. Season, to taste, with freshly ground black pepper. (The smoked haddock is quite salty, so add some salt if needed.)
Step 4 Heat the butter in a large ovenproof frying pan over a medium heat, and pour in the eggs, stirring slightly as they cook to loosen them from the sides of the pan. Keep bringing the cooked eggs that set on the sides of the pan in to the middle with a Teflon spatula.
Step 5 Flake the haddock, removing the skin while the eggs are cooking, taking care to remove any remaining bones. (My smoked haddock had no skin or bones)
Step 6 When the eggs are still slightly runny on top but have started to set, spoon over the crème fraîche mixture, then scatter over the flaked haddock and transfer the omelette to the oven for 4-5 minutes, or until cooked through and slightly risen and puffed up. Remove from the oven.
Step 7 To serve, Slide the omelette onto a serving plate, sprinkle over the remaing chives and serve with lemon slices and seasonal salad, herbs or greens.

Omelette Arnold Bennett

That’s it for today, I am off to the Foodies 100 Blog Camp tomorrow, so may not be around until later on on the day! Have a great Friday and weekend, I will be back very soon with more recipes and news about my day at the Blog Camp in Birmingham. Bye for now, Karen.

Fish Fanatic

Disclaimer: With thanks to John at Delish Fish for sending me some smoked haddock to try.

Comments

  1. says

    You see, I think fish and cheese go together brilliantly – although I know there are so many foodies who would disagree… But I love the concept of this omelette. I’ve never had fish in an omelette before, but the smokiness of the fish together with the parmesan and creme fraiche – mmmmm…

  2. says

    Creme fraiche is such a time-saver, isn’t it? I rarely make a hollandaise or a proper cheese sauce as I like the lighter result of perking up half-fat creme fraiche. At the weekends I sometimes do something similar the your Omelette Arnold Bennett (not as jazzy though) and it really sets me and my family up for the day, often lasting us until late afternoon. Must be all that protein! And love your patriotic saute pan. I have a Union Jack Aerolatte whisk that I use for whizzing up my cold matcha green tea but I envy your pan. And btw, have a great time at camp. I wanted to come too but the flights/trains are problematic from my end of the UK. IF you have sway can you request a camp in Edinburgh?

    • says

      I think they will have a Scottish BlogCamp Kellie…..and yes, Creme fraiche is time saver and so easy to cook as it remains stable during high temperatures too. The pan is my dad’s,I borrowed it, but do have serious Union Jack pan envy now! Karen

  3. says

    Love an Arnold Bennett! I’m so glad that I’ve finally found a place here that sells crème fraîche. Still having trouble with the smoked haddock, but I often use a smoked trout and that turns out well. I’ve never read any of Bennett’s books; I’ll have to keep an eye out for them.

    Have a great weekend!

  4. says

    wow this sounds amazing!! I want some NOW!! I love the name and the story behind the omelette – thanks for sharing. Have a great time at blog camp, I’m sure we will get a detailed report soon :)

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