Recipe

Omelette Arnold Bennett

by Leah Hyslop

The famous breakfast dish—with a Borough Market twist

This rich, smoky omelette is a London icon. The story goes that it was invented at The Savoy hotel in 1929 for the author Arnold Bennett, who was staying there while he worked on a book. Bennett loved the omelette so much, he demanded it was made for him wherever he travelled. The Savoy has never taken it off the menu.

The original recipe calls for generous ladlesful of hollandaise and béchamel sauce, but making those is a faff for those of us not lucky enough to have a team of kitchen staff at our disposal—plus, the finished product is overwhelmingly rich. My version uses a simple white sauce, enlivened by the tang of crème fraîche and thickened with a splash of double cream. Instead of the usual parmesan, I use Ogleshield from the Market’s London cheesemonger Kappacasein—it melts beautifully, taking this already indulgent dish to the gooey next level.

Ingredients

200ml milk
100ml double cream
50ml crème fraiche
200g smoked haddock fillet
20g butter, plus extra for cooking the omelette
20g plain flour
50g Ogleshield cheese, grated
6 eggs
A handful of chopped chives, to serve (optional)
Lemon wedges, to serve

Method

Put the milk, cream and crème fraîche, plus a generous grinding of black pepper, into a small pan and bring to a simmer over a medium-low heat. Add the smoked haddock and poach gently until cooked through—about 5 mins. Remove the fish, retaining the cooking liquid, and flake into small pieces.

In a separate pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour. Cook for a few mins, then slowly pour in the milk mixture you cooked the fish in. Give it a good whisk. Cook over a medium heat until you have a thick sauce, then remove from the heat and stir in the flaked fish and about a third of the cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the grill to its highest setting. Whisk the eggs in a mug or small bowl, and season with a little salt and pepper.

Put a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter, swirling it around the pan as it melts. When the pan is hot, pour in the eggs and tilt the pan to make sure the eggs form an even layer. Cook the omelette until it is set, but still a little runny in the middle. Spoon the fish mixture over the top and scatter with the remaining Ogleshield.

Transfer to the grill and cook until the omelette is golden and crunchy on top, about 3–4 mins. Leave to rest for 5 mins, then divide between serving plates. Sprinkle with the chopped chives, if using, and serve with the lemon wedges for squeezing.

Recipe: Leah Hyslop