If there’s one Phoenicia Diner dish that signals to guests that they’re not in an old-school diner, it’s this. From day one, this beguiling skillet dish has been a touchstone of our menu, something like our mission statement on a plate: classic Americana with a boost of sophistication, a hint of whimsy, and a deep sense of place.
Arnold Bennett (1867–1931) was a British novelist and critic whose optimistic take on things—people, the world, and smoked fish, he believed, were generally good—set him at odds with the fusty Bloomsbury set. While penning one of his novels, he settled in at the Savoy hotel in London, where an eponymous omelet was developed to his liking. His was enriched with smoked haddock and hollandaise. At the Phoenicia Diner, local trout is swapped in for the haddock, and crème fraîche for hollandaise. The result is a creamy, luscious scramble, studded with salty smoked trout and given a hint of tang and body from the crème fraîche.
Reprinted with permission from The Phoenicia Diner Cookbook: Dishes and Dispatches from the Catskill Mountains by Mike Cioffi, Chris Bradley, and Sara B. Franklin, copyright© 2020. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Photography credit: Johnny Autry© 2020 Buy online.
8 large eggs
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup flaked smoked trout (about 4 whole fillets), in small pieces
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
Break the eggs into a medium bowl and beat with a whisk until fully combined.
Melt the butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Once it starts to bubble rapidly and turn brown, add the smoked trout. Cook for 1 minute, just to warm through.
Add the eggs to the pan and stir gently with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to prevent the eggs from burning (see Note). When the eggs are almost set but still runny (this will take a couple of minutes at most), remove the skillet from the heat and add the parmesan and crème fraîche, stirring briefly to incorporate. Top with the chives, and serve immediately.
NOTE: You need to work quickly so your eggs don’t stick and you can incorporate the other ingredients, so make sure you have all your ingredients prepped and beside you at the stove when you begin cooking. The residual heat from the skillet will finish cooking the eggs, so don’t worry that we ask you to pull them off the heat when they’re still runny.