Well maybe not, Arnold Bennett would probably be rolling over in his grave at this version of the omelette that he most famously became enamoured with at the Savoy, and insisted upon its serving on his travels. As Nigel Slater put it, "Stick with the classic interpretation unless you want the wrath of Arnold Bennett's ghost upon you". Well I've yet to feel it, and even so switching away from a béchamel to cream infused with horseradish, lemon rind and dill is well worth the risk of a little otherworldly wrath. Oh and not to push my luck, tempt fate or anger the spirits, there is no parmesan in this either, I'm more than sure the lack of smoked haddock will be forgiven as it is not readily available in this part of the world, smoked hoki is a fair substitute though.
You will need
20 cm heavy based oven proof sauté pan
3–4 eggs (per person)
Smoked Fish, Hoki (or haddock to appease the spirits)
Cream (thickened slightly)
Lemon (zest only)
Dill (if you have it)
- In an oven proof dish, just big enough to hold the fish snugly, lay a bed of parsley, some of the dill, bay leaves and peppercorns. Deposit the fish on top, pour over milk so it just covers the fish and firmly secure with tin foil. Bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes.
- Whilst the fish poaches, mix together the cream, horseradish, lemon zest and a good portion of the dill (chopped). Set aside.
- Flake the fish off the skin into a bowl and set aside.
- Crank the oven to a high setting, around 200ºC, move the rack to the upper third position. When the oven is at temperature you can begin. Before starting to cook, switch your oven to the grill (broil) setting, fan forced if you have it, and increase the temperature slightly (220ºC).
- Get the pan onto a medium high heat and with abandon dollop in butter.
- Beat the eggs together. When the foaming has subsided pour the eggs into the pan. Working from the centre with a spatula move the eggs outwards.
- When set around the edges and the middle moving towards half done, spoon over the cream, three or four large spoonfuls should do it, spread it out as you go so it covers the egg.
- Drop flakes of the poached fish over the cream and move the whole pan into the now hot oven. Cook for five minutes, until golden and souffléed.
- Slide the omelette on to a waiting plate, garnish with dill, shaved red onion and salad of watercress.