Omelette Arnold Bennett

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As the Henrietta sails on through unwelcoming North Atlantic waters, interiors, bunks, masts, and rafts are all thrown into the steamer’s furnace, the crew lost in ‘a perfect rage for demolition’ in an effort to keep on schedule. Amid all this wreckage and destruction, I think it’s time we celebrated the miraculous oily fishies that surround us. This mackerel recipe was created in the 1920s by the chefs at the Savoy Hotel, London, for author and critic Arnold Bennett, who was staying there while writing his novel Imperial Palace. As Fogg heads towards home, here is a true British classic that remains on the Savoy’s menu to this day.

Ingredients

  • 25g/1oz butter
  • ¼ of a small onion, finely chopped
  • 100g/oz smoked mackerel fillet
  • 1 bay leaf
  • A few fresh thyme leaves
  • A pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 3 free-range eggs, beaten
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons double cream
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Method

Before you start, preheat your grill to hot. Melt half the butter in a frying pan and add the onion. After a few minutes, as the onion becomes soft, add the smoked mackerel, bay leaf, thyme, nutmeg and enough boiling water to cover the fish. Cover with a lid, turn the heat down, and poach for 5 or 6 minutes, until the mackerel has cooked through. Remove the fish from the pan using a fork, and flake.

Clean your frying pan. Season the eggs with salt and pepper, then melt the remaining butter and add the beaten eggs. Cook for about 3 minutes, using a spatula to move the uncooked egg around until it begins to set. Add the flakes of fish, the cream and the grated Parmesan and pop the frying pan under a hot grill for a few minutes to brown the top of the omelette. Slide it on to a hot serving plate, sprinkle with the parsley and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

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