There are, as one would expect, several different takes on how to make the perfect OAB.
This recipe is akin to Marcus Wareing’s recipe from The Savoy Grill’s menu, so about as authentic as it gets but with one seemingly minor adaptation to the method which actually cuts out tons of faff and about 35mins. Cuz who’s got the time these days, right.
Could OAB be the most deliciously decadent omelette in the known universe? Quite possibly, yes.
45 mins | serves 2-3 | as omelettes go, a little effort
130ml double cream
½ onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
½ tsp black peppercorns
bit of nutmeg, grated
200g smoked pollack, sustainable haddock or other sustainable white fish fillets
4 eggs, plus 2 yolks
15g parmesan, grated
fresh chives, chopped
Put the fish, milk and 100ml of the cream in a small pan with the onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and a grate or two of nutmeg. Bring to a simmer, and then gently simmer for two minutes over a low heat (don’t forget how quickly it can all go wrong when heating milk). Remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 10mins.*
Remove the fish to a plate and strain the milk discarding the bits. When the fish has cooled a little remove and chuck the skin and flake up the fillet a little. Use your hands cuz then you can feel any rouge bones and remove them. Beat the four eggs together in a bowl and set aside.
Melt 25g butter in a small pan (you can use the same one) over a medium-low heat, then whisk in the flour. Cook for at least 1min, then gradually whisk in the infused milk and cook until it thickens. It will thicken a lot very quickly, keep calm and carry on whisking, it will sort itself out as long as you whisk hard! Take off the heat and gently whisk in the egg yolks and remaining cream. Season lightly with white pepper and salt and set aside briefly.
Heat the grill during the sauce making and get a frying pan on the hob with the remaining butter melting gently as you finish the sauce. Pour the eggs into the pan and allow to cook/set a little around the edges. Don’t fuss over this too much, over a low flame gently pull in from the sides to the centre with a spatula occasionally, tilting the pan as you go.
When the eggs are half way there liberally cover with the fish, pour the sauce over the whole lot and sprinkle the parmesan. Give it a moment longer on the hob and then bung it under the grill until the top turns a gorgeous golden brown colour. Remove from the grill and serve straight from the pan.
Holy smokes, enjoy.
* This is where our way differs from The Grill’s. Marcus simmers the milk and bits without the fish in it for 2mins, removes it from the heat and leaves it to infuse for 30mins. Then he removes the bits, adds the fish, brings to a simmer, removes from the heat again and leaves it to cook for 5mins before removing the fish from the pan. After that the two methods converge again.
A word on sustainability, if we may. Cuz true enough haddock populations were definitely healthier back in the 1920s than they are today. But apparently North Sea cod and haddock populations are beginning to bounce back (as of The Summer of 2015) with more responsible fishing and consuming in recent years. They could both be certified sustainable within the next 5 years. Which is good news, except that EU fishing quotas are set to increase too.
As long as you buy haddock from the North Sea, preferably from Scandinavian waters, then you are buying from a sustainable source with responsible fishing practices, i.e. line caught. Haddock can range from 2-5 on the Sustainable Fish Guide depending on where it’s from (1 is sustainable, 5 is not). Best to avoid anything scoring upwards of 2 we say.
Still the best thing we can do as consumers is to reduce the amount we consume, and when we do have a cheat day, ensure we’ve sourced our fish as responsibly as possible and make the most of it with recipes like this one. Here endeth the rant, thanks for listening.