Recipe: Omelette Arnold Bennett

A London chef named this smoked fish omelette after prolific English author, Arnold Bennett. 

Words and recipe: Michael Van de Elzen

Arnold Bennett was a prolific English author who started his career in 1898 in London. A chef at the Savoy Hotel created the dish that bears his name in honour of his stay there, where he wrote an entire novel, Imperial Palace. Traditionally, you’d use smoked haddock, a flaky white fish, but any smoked white fish such as snapper, hoki, or hake will work just fine.

I make this as two large omelettes, half per person, but you can use the same mix to make four smaller individual omelettes.

Serves: 4
Time: 20 minutes


180g (1 punnet) cherry tomatoes
2 sprigs rosemary
2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
400ml milk
200g smoked white fish, whole fillets
50g butter + 30g butter for frying
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp finely chopped fennel tips
8 eggs, lightly beaten
50g Tasty cheddar, grated
4 slices wholegrain bread, toasted


Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place the cherry tomatoes in a small roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Lay rosemary over the top and roast in the oven for 12 minutes.

While the tomatoes are roasting, simmer the fish in the milk in a large saucepan for about 5-8 minutes. Remove the fish and break into large flakes.

Use the poaching milk to make a béchamel (white sauce). Melt 50g of butter in a clean saucepan. Add the flour and stir for 1 minute, then gradually add the warm milk. Stir well after each addition. When thick, add the fish and chopped fennel.

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Heat two medium frying pans, and add 15g of butter to each one. Split the egg mix between each pan. Cook until the omelettes begin to firm, then remove from the heat. Add the fish and white sauce over the top of each, sprinkle with grated cheddar, and grill until golden and bubbling.

Cut the omelettes in half, and serve with roasted cherry tomatoes and wholegrain toast.

NZ Lifestyle Block This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.
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