Omelette Arnold Bennett

There’s a reason why old school classics are exactly that: they taste fantastic. I don’t think I’d cooked this up since catering college, so what a joy to do it again this last weekend at Bolsover food and drink festival. I’m delighted to report that the reactions of the good people of Bolsover have ensured it won’t be long before aim doing it again.

Makes 2

300ml milk
150ml double cream
1/2 onion studded with 2 cloves
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp peppercorns
Pinch of grated nutmeg
200g smoked pollack, or smoked haddock
60g butter
30g flour
2 egg yolks
4 eggs, beaten
30g Parmesan, finely grated
1 tbsp chopped chives
Sea salt & fresh ground pepper

Heat the milk with the clove-studded onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and nutmeg until it comes to a simmer. Remove from the heat and stand for 20 minutes. Strain the flavoured milk and heat until just about to boil. Add the smoked fish and immediately remove from the heat. Leave to stand for 10 mins so the fish is just cooked through.

Remove the fish from the milk and flake into a bowl. Heat 40g of the butter in a small saucepan until it melts and then add the flour. Cook the flour and butter over a low heat for about four minutes, stirring regularly. Gradually whisk in the flavoured milk, a little at a time until you have a smooth sauce. Combine the egg yolks with the cream and stir into the sauce.

Heat a frying pan over a high heat, add 10g of butter and as soon as it foams, add half the beaten eggs. Make an omelette by whisking the mixture with a fork, scraping it down from the sides of the pan and agitating the pan. This should take no longer than a minute.

While there is still a thin film of runny egg on the surface, remove from the heat, and slide the omelette into a shallow,move proof serving dish. Wipe out the omelette pan and make another omelette in the same way before sliding into another oven proof serving dish. Divide the flaked fish over the two omelettes. Spoon over the white sauce and then sprinkle over the Parmesan. Place under a hot grill until it starts to bubble and turn golden.

Sprinkle with the chives and serve immediately.

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