A classic brunch dish, Omelette Arnold Bennett is a rich yet moreish concoction of fluffy omelette, smoked haddock sauce, and bubbling cheese. A labour of love indeed; which is why we have chosen it to celebrate Mothering Sunday this weekend.

You can use any smoked fish available. We chose haddock, purely because it looked good on the fishmonger’s slab and was the only type there that was undyed. The sauce is relatively simple in that we stick to béchamel enriched with cream. Parmesan cheese melts nicely and provides a sharp foil against the creamy background without dominating the dish. A snip of chives adds visually interest and a mildly oniony note.

A small non-stick frying pan of about six inches is ideal for a one-person omelette. If your pan is too wide, you end up with a (distinctly unfluffy) skinny little thing. The fluffy aspect of an omelette is everything, but in this case is even more so. This dish is about melt in the mouth, once a year, indulgence. Made by somebody else.

This is a robust dish with plenty of sauce. If mum does not have the appetite of a horse, then consider keeping back some of the sauce to mix into a fish pie or to grill on toast.

Recipe for omelette Arnold Bennett

100ml milk

150ml double cream

½ broken bay leaf

Grate of nutmeg

1 piece of onion

100g smoked haddock

20g butter + knob for cooking

1 tbsp flour

2 eggs and 1 yolk

1 tbsp shaved parmesan

1 tsp chopped fresh chives

Flaked sea salt

Freshly ground pepper

  1. Put the milk and half of the cream in a small saucepan with the bay leaf, onion, and nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, cover, and stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the bits from the infused milk, bring it back up to a simmer, and lay in the fish. Cover again and stand for about 5 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.
  3. Remove the fish from the liquid, roughly flake, and set both aside.
  4. Melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook the resulting paste for 1 minute.
  5. Gradually add the infused milk, stirring carefully each time to ensure no lumps. Finally, add the rest of the cream and a good grind of pepper. Add the flaked fish.
  6. Beat the eggs and season with a small pinch of salt.
  7. Heat a knob of butter in a small non-stick frying pan. At the same time, heat the overhead grill.
  8. Pour in the eggs and cook the omelette as shown in the video, pushing cooked egg into the centre and tipping runny egg into the gaps.
  9. Top with the sauce, and then the cheese.
  10. Grill until the top is golden and bubbling, but do not overcook.
  11. Serve piping hot. Toast is nice, but possibly not necessary.

For another great brunch idea, check out our recipe for Lebanese halloumi and eggs.