Omelette Arnold Bennett

For the life of me I can’t remember how I came across this omelette with the odd name, but it certainly got my attention. Firstly because I love omelettes, and secondly, that name! So of course I googled!

Arnold Bennett was a 20th century British novelist. Okay, I didn’t know that, but how in the world did he get a brunch dish named after him?!

According to Wikipedia, “It was created at the Savoy Grill in London for Bennett, who frequented the restaurant often, by the chef Jean Baptiste Virlogeux. It remains a British classic; cooks from Marcus Wareing to Delia Smith and Gordon Ramsay have published their recipes for it, and a variant remains on the menu at the Savoy Grill.”

What makes this omelette unique, is that it contains smoked haddock, which I adore. When I made Cullen Skink for the blog, I discovered Arbroath smokies sold by Scottish Gourmet USA. I was so excited to buy them again!

I found the omelette recipe on The Guardian website, by Felicity Cloake, who is a British cookbook author. She writes: “Though Bennett himself seems to have enjoyed the dish as a post-theatre supper, this silky, smoky tangle of eggs, cheese and haddock is so ridiculously, deliciously rich that it’s best consumed well before bedtime … though I won’t judge you if you want to go back to bed afterwards.”

Note that, depending on the size of your frying pan, you can make two individual omelettes or one big one to share. Use an ovenproof one that can go in the oven.

All I can say is that this omelette was uniquely wonderful. It’s eggs, bechamel, smoked haddock, and Parmesan. Of course it’s wonderful!

Omelette Arnold Bennett

1/2 onion
200ml (6.7 ounces) milk
130ml (4.4 ounces) double cream
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp peppercorns
A grating of nutmeg
200g (7 ounces) smoked white fish fillets (eg, sustainable smoked haddock or pollock)
35g (1 ounce) butter
25g (2 tablespoons) flour
4 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
20g parmesan, finely grated (I used 1 ounce)
1 tbsp chopped chives, to finish

Roughly chop the onion, then put it, the milk and 100ml of the cream in a small pan with the bay leaf, peppercorns and a grating of nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, then take off the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain the infused milk, discarding the solids, then pour the milk back into the pan.

Bring the milk to a simmer, then add the fish, cutting it up as necessary so as much of it as possible is submerged. Traditionally, this dish is made with smoked haddock, but any cold-smoked white fish will work, so use whatever is available and most sustainable locally; I’ve even been known to make it with kippers. Take the pan off the heat, cover and leave to sit for about five minutes (longer if the fish is particularly thick), until the fish is cooked enough so it flakes easily. Lift out the fish with a slotted spoon, peel off the skin, if necessary, then flake the flesh into large chunks. Pour the milk into a jug.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small pan (use the same one, to save on the washing-up) over a medium-low heat, then whisk in the flour and cook, stirring, for a minute or so. Gradually whisk in the infused milk, then cook, still stirring, until the sauce thickens to the consistency of double cream. Take the pan off the heat. Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining cream, then very gradually whisk this into the sauce. Stir in the flaked fish, then season to taste – you probably won’t need much salt, because smoked fish is quite salty already, but you may wish to add a little more pepper or nutmeg.

Heat the grill. Whisk the four eggs with a little seasoning, and heat half the remaining butter in a medium omelette pan (or all of it in a big frying pan, if making an omelette to share) over a medium-high flame. When the foam subsides, pour in half the eggs (or all of them, if making a large one) and shake the pan to cover the base. Leave the eggs until they begin to set and bubble, then use a fork to draw the sides of the omelette into the centre, at the same time tilting the pan to move any runny eggs to the side.

When the omelette is almost set, but still a little loose in the middle, take the pan off the heat, add half (or all) the fishy sauce and top with the grated cheese.

Put the omelette under the hot grill until lightly golden and bubbling on top. If you’re making two omelettes, tip the first one on to a heatproof plate and keep it somewhere warm while you make the second one.

Top with the chopped chives and serve immediately – I usually just put the pan on the table and tuck in.

This recipe was perfect, but I’d infuse the whole 200ml of milk and the 130ml of cream. There’s no reason there shouldn’t be more flavor in this fabulous omelette!

By Published On: September 11th, 202357 Comments on Omelette Arnold Bennett

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. angiesrecipes September 11, 2023 at 6:50 AM - Reply

    This is totally right up my alley as I absolutely love eggs and smoked fish. Might use some smoked trout instead though.

    • Chef Mimi September 11, 2023 at 8:45 AM - Reply

      You have to make this! It’s incredible.

  2. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen September 11, 2023 at 7:04 AM - Reply

    This looks and sounds amazing Mimi! It’s almost a souffle!
    I always have a packet of smoked haddock on hand, so this just might appear at brunch, or supper, someday soon!

    • Chef Mimi September 11, 2023 at 8:45 AM - Reply

      Nice!!! This is an incredible dish!

  3. David Scott Allen September 11, 2023 at 9:40 AM - Reply

    What a great omelette! I love smoked fish and I had written down Abroath when you did Cullen Skink, but never ordered. I need to get online and do that. But I have a question — omelette vs. omelet? Is one French vs. American? I can Google it but just thought I would raise the subject, as more than once I have been told not to use omelette, which is my preferred spelling.

    • David Scott Allen September 11, 2023 at 9:41 AM - Reply

      Omelette is British English (from the French, of course). Now I know.

    • Chef Mimi September 11, 2023 at 10:17 AM - Reply

      Who told you not to spell it like that?!!! Weird. When I did an omelette post I spelled it that way, and I have no idea why. That’s just what comes to my mind. I hope you follow through and get these smokies. They are spectacular. This omelette isn’t too pretty, but your life will be changed!

  4. Valentina September 11, 2023 at 11:42 AM - Reply

    I don’t think I’ve ever had an omelette with fish (maybe crab/lobster?). This is such an interesting recipe, and now I know who Arnold Bennett is. :-) ~Valentina

    • Chef Mimi September 11, 2023 at 11:49 AM - Reply

      Smoked salmon is good in eggs, but in general, I wouldn’t have ever thought of adding smoked fish. Now I will, cause it’s amazing!

  5. Charlie DeSando September 11, 2023 at 4:20 PM - Reply

    Do you think Gordon Ramsey was yelling at everyone when he was cooking this omlette? Very nicely done!

  6. Mary September 11, 2023 at 4:21 PM - Reply

    Mmmmmm really nice. :))

  7. Ben | Havocinthekitchen September 11, 2023 at 5:49 PM - Reply

    I’ve never heard of this omelette until this post, but of man it looks and sounds absolutely delicious and decadent. Smoked fish and cheese – who could resist?

  8. Cynthia M Woodman September 11, 2023 at 6:08 PM - Reply

    looks delish Mimi!

  9. Pauline McNee September 11, 2023 at 6:46 PM - Reply

    Oh yum, I must buy some smoked fish and buy this. We love an omelette, this is so dinner worthy. Thanks Mimi.

  10. nancyc September 11, 2023 at 8:03 PM - Reply

    Omelets are one of my favorite breakfast food—this sounds great for breakfast or dinner! :)

  11. Debra September 11, 2023 at 8:24 PM - Reply

    I don’t think I’ve ever met an omelette I didn’t absolutely adore, and this is so creative. Unusual, to say the least. I not only enjoyed the background its origin, but your photos and the detailed description is really welcome! I’m also one to enjoy an omelette for dinner. Anytime!

  12. Tandy | Lavender and Lime September 11, 2023 at 10:50 PM - Reply

    All I can say is yes please! Arbroath is such a pretty fishing village and we got smokies directly from a fisherman when we were there. I am making this for sure.

    • Chef Mimi September 12, 2023 at 3:36 PM - Reply

      Oh how fun! We were all around Scotland but never in Arbroath. at least I can order them here!

  13. September 12, 2023 at 11:23 AM - Reply

    I do enjoy omelettes but the protein is usually ham, bacon or sausage. Even though it’s smoked fish it certainly is healthier than a pork product :) A good version to try!

    • Chef Mimi September 12, 2023 at 3:36 PM - Reply

      Oh, and the flavor! You must try this!

  14. Liz @ spades, spatulas, and spoons September 12, 2023 at 1:47 PM - Reply

    I think I would like this with smoked salmon for brunch. Yummy Mimi.

    • Chef Mimi September 12, 2023 at 3:37 PM - Reply

      It’s easy to add smoked salmon to scrambled eggs. This is that on crack!!!

  15. Ann Coleman September 12, 2023 at 9:02 PM - Reply

    Sounds delicious to me!

    • Chef Mimi September 13, 2023 at 7:26 AM - Reply

      It really was! I got to eat the whole omelette!

  16. spicedblog September 13, 2023 at 6:52 AM - Reply

    Wow, that certainly is an odd name for an omelette. I do love the backstory behind recipes though! This one sounds delicious – I could go for it right about now!

    • Chef Mimi September 13, 2023 at 7:27 AM - Reply

      Definitely an odd name, and a very unique omelette. And so so good.

  17. Eva Taylor September 13, 2023 at 2:43 PM - Reply

    I love omelettes too AND smoke fish so this recipe would be right up my ally. And that rich, luxurious béchamel sauce. I must look around for smoked whitefish.

    • Chef Mimi September 13, 2023 at 6:48 PM - Reply

      You must try this! It’s exquisite!

  18. Raymund September 13, 2023 at 6:55 PM - Reply

    Wow, this Omelette Arnold Bennett looks absolutely mouthwatering! Thanks for the recipe and I love the history behind it.

    • Chef Mimi September 14, 2023 at 7:42 AM - Reply

      The story is interesting! It could have been a better name, like literati omelette or something easier! But I wasn’t there, and no one asked me…

  19. Sherry Mackay September 14, 2023 at 1:51 AM - Reply

    oh yum this looks wonderful. I have indeed heard of this omelette before but never made it.

    • Chef Mimi September 14, 2023 at 7:41 AM - Reply

      You must make it! Then you’ll taste heaven!

  20. Thao @ In Good Flavor September 14, 2023 at 8:22 PM - Reply

    It looks so light and fluffy! It also sounds like the most flavorful omelette I have ever had.

    • Chef Mimi September 15, 2023 at 7:50 AM - Reply

      It really is. I hope you try it!

  21. The Healthy Epicurean September 15, 2023 at 3:20 AM - Reply

    Thank you for this recipe – have never heard of it before! My father was from Arbroath so I’m very familiar with delicious smokies! They’re so much subtler than kippers. Are they available other than in Arbroath though? They used not to be because the locals would eat everything produced! Maybe kippers would work?

    • Chef Mimi September 15, 2023 at 7:53 AM - Reply

      Oh very interesting! No, from what I read, Arbroath smokies are caught there and smoked there. And I can get them from this Scottish website, so there must be plenty to go around. Kippers wouldn’t work – they’re too heavy and oily. I think the closest sub would be smoked trout. Not smoked salmon. (Lox)

      • The Healthy Epicurean September 15, 2023 at 4:23 PM

        I will look into your Scottish website – they’re really special!

      • Chef Mimi September 15, 2023 at 6:04 PM

        They are so special.

  22. Jean | September 15, 2023 at 10:10 AM - Reply

    Mimi, I’ve never heard of this dish or the man it’s named for! Like you, I love learning new things. Must look for some smoked haddock. I’m not a fan of kippers or smoked salmon, but haddock is a completely different thing.

    • Chef Mimi September 15, 2023 at 11:33 AM - Reply

      Haddock is a completely different thing! And this omelet is revolutionary!

  23. Healthy World Cuisine September 15, 2023 at 12:15 PM - Reply

    Love this omelet recipe! So unique and I bet the flavors are amazing with smoked fish. The texture looks so good too. Easy weekday meal any time of the day.

    • Chef Mimi September 15, 2023 at 12:24 PM - Reply

      Definitely! My husband wouldn’t touch it so I got to eat the whole thing.

  24. Hannah Kaminsky September 15, 2023 at 12:43 PM - Reply

    I was instantly intrigued by thee name, too! Such a curious combination, I’ve never seen an omelette like this before.

  25. Jeff the Chef September 16, 2023 at 6:12 PM - Reply

    That is one hell of an interesting omelet. I can see why you like it so much.

    • Chef Mimi September 17, 2023 at 10:47 AM - Reply

      Oh yeah. It was really good.

  26. Frank Fariello September 17, 2023 at 7:02 AM - Reply

    Wow, this sounds amazing. Mimi. I absolutely adore smoked whitefish, too, but usually just eat it plain or on toast. I have to give this a try. As you say, it sounds incredibly rich. Right up my alley!

    • Chef Mimi September 17, 2023 at 10:47 AM - Reply

      You will love it! Like I said, what’s not to love?!!

  27. Karen (Back Road Journal( September 18, 2023 at 1:07 AM - Reply

    You certainly do know how to photograph an omelette and make it look absolutely delicious.

    • Chef Mimi September 18, 2023 at 7:50 AM - Reply

      Well thanks! I didn’t think I did it justice !

  28. Ron September 18, 2023 at 4:19 AM - Reply

    This looks so yummy and your tutorial makes it easy to make this dish.

    • Chef Mimi September 18, 2023 at 7:49 AM - Reply

      Thanks, Ron! It was delicious.

  29. carrietalkingmeals September 20, 2023 at 6:39 AM - Reply

    I’ve never had an omelet with fish, but this one looks delicious! The toasty cheese on top is a perfect finish too.

    • Chef Mimi September 20, 2023 at 7:16 AM - Reply

      It was amazing. I hope you get to try it.

  30. StefanGourmet September 25, 2023 at 11:25 AM - Reply

    This looks and sounds delicious, and also quite heavy!

    • Chef Mimi September 26, 2023 at 3:54 PM - Reply

      Very heavy! So rich, and I ate the whole thing!

  31. Gerlinde de Broekert September 25, 2023 at 11:22 PM - Reply

    Mimi, omelettes are not my favorite food, but I think I would like this one. The smoked fish is a great addition.

    • Chef Mimi September 26, 2023 at 3:50 PM - Reply

      It’s so incredible. I really hope you get a chance to make it!

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