Sep 6 2012 by Ian Proctor, Harrow Observer
Arnold Bennett (1867-1931)
Arnold Bennett was a writer, novelist and journalist born in the mid-19th Century.
As well as his novels, much of Bennett's other work has stood the test of time.
One of his most popular non-fiction works, which is still read to this day, is the self-help book 'How To Live On 24 Hours A Day', and at that time, he also contributed a weekly column to the Evening Standard.
His diaries have yet to be published in full but extracts from them are often quoted in the British press.
At the turn of the 20th Century, he moved to Paris where many other writers and artists were doing likewise.
In 1908 he wrote 'The Old Wives’ Tale' which was an immediate success and was hailed as a masterpiece on his return to Britain.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, is the culinary bard trying to extend his writing range?
Well here’s the thing, as a scholar I wasn’t bad academically but in truth, I’d never heard of Arnold Bennett!
In fact, I first heard of him when I joined the team at The Savoy. There, the name was regularly announced over the tannoy ...as an omelet!
My inquisitive nature was rewarded with an explanation as to why. In common with a select number of celebrities, he had had a dish named after him after staying at The Savoy.
The chefs perfected this concoction, which pleased him so much, that he insisted on it being prepared for him wherever he stayed.
It remains a Savoy standard after all this time, even after the much-publicised refurbishment.
Here is a simple way to make this delicious omelette although it was easier in a way, back at The Savoy, because to finish the sauce you could get a little Hollandaise sauce from the fish section and a little sauce crème from the sauce section.
Omelette Arnold Bennett (serves 2)
200g cooked, flaked smoked haddock
25g unsalted butter
1 tbsp finely cut chives
30g grated Gruyère cheese, mixed with 20g grated parmesan
100ml double cream
salt and freshly milled pepper
1) Separate one egg, and put the yolk into a bowl.
2) Warm the cream and whisk onto the yolk, with a pinch of salt.
3) Meanwhile, whisk the remaining four eggs together in a bowl, and add the haddock and chives.
4) Whisk the remaining egg white to a stiff peak, then fold into the beaten egg mix. Season lightly.
5) In a non stick frying pan heat the butter until bubbling then pour in the egg mixture.
6) Stir over a high flame, bring the mixture in from the sides, for about two minutes.
7) Spread the cream sauce over the top, sprinkle with grated cheese and brown under a hot grill.
8) Allow to rest for a couple of minutes, turn out, cut into wedges and serve at once.