Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tortilla de patatas - Spanish omelette

Like revenge, this is a dish best served cold.

At least, that's what I think. Lately, I've had a lot of things going on in the evening, so I've been looking around for things I can cook ahead of time and then let sit in the refrigerator for awhile so that when I get back home exhausted at 9 or 10 I don't have to do anything except get out a plate and a fork!

The tortilla de patatas fits the bill perfectly. In fact, sit around seems to be what these omelettes do best. Walk into any bar/café in Spain and chances are very good you'll see a large hunk of tortilla sitting around on the counter, just waiting to be sliced up for the next hungry customer.

It's actually sort of surprising that these tortillas aren't as popular in other countries, but they certainly are ubiquitous in Spain. People eat them as snacks, tapas, smushed between bread into a sandwich and on and on. They are really good - very satisfying, and very simple to make with just a few ingredients - the hardest part is flipping them!

2-3 large potatoes
1 yellow onion
4 eggs
Olive oil

Dice the onion and set aside. Peel the potatoes, cut them lengthwise into halves and then cut each half into thin strips. In a large pan, heat some olive oil and then add the onions and the potatoes. Let them cook over medium-high heat for a minute or so, add in a spoonful of salt, stir a bit, and then turn the heat down to medium and cover the pan.

Let the potatoes and onion cook about 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs and then add the potato-onion mixture, stirring just enough to mix everything together, but no more.

Let the eggs and potatoes sit for 5-10 minutes (I use this time to wash the dishes I've dirtied), and then heat some olive oil in a frying pan. If possible, use a smaller pan to make the omelette than you used to fry the potatoes, as that will get you a thicker omelette, which is essential for nice layers of potatoes.

When the oil is very hot, pour in the egg-potato-onion mixture, and after about a minute, turn the heat to medium-low. Use a spatula to push the omelette away from the sides of the pan and to test to see how cooked the bottom is getting. As soon as the omelette starts to set on top, remove the pan from the stove, cover it with a large plate, and flip the pan upside-down. Hopefully the omelette will land right on the plate without any problems - lifting the bottom away from the pan with the spatula beforehand will help.

Slide the omelette back into the pan so that the other side can cook and return the pan to the stove. Let cook a few more minutes, just until done. You want the omelette to stay rather soft in the center, so don't overcook.

Let the omelette sit until it cools, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple hours. Remove whenever you want and eat - goes especially well with a glass of sangria!

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