Thursday, 8 September 2011

Tortilla de patatas a la española

Continuing my fairly tenuous theme of light lunches today I offer you the Spanish omelette. If you put a potato and an egg in a pan with a bit of salt you are almost guaranteed to get something delicious, right?

I first tried tortilla when I lived in Northern Spain in my early twenties. At the time I was vegetarian and struggling to find nourishment in a strange and foreign land. Back in the mid-nineties I was viewed with intense suspicion and most places that claimed to serve vegetarian food would offer pizza or omelette with sliced ham in it. This simple repast kept me alive for the 4 months before I finally decided to taste a little bit of chorizo and it was all ¡Hola cerdito! from there on in. Now I use it as a faithful option for a light summery lunch but it's also a fabulous side dish for a barbeque, a cold roast chicken or even sliced in a hunk of baguette. If bread, egg and potato in one meal is wrong then, hell I don't wanna be right! For a healthier option you can also use courgette and red pepper to create a delicious fritatta, maybe I'll do one of those soon.

I served this with a rocket, chorizo and red pepper salad and added some sweet sun-blush tomatoes for a little extra zing. Back when the sun was shining it was a lovely garden picnic.

Tortilla de patatas a la española
  • 400ml sunflower oil
  • 1kg starchy potatoes (Desiree, King Edward, Maris Piper), thinly sliced
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tblsp olive oil
  • S&P to taste
  1. Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan. Add the potatoes and cook until soft and golden brown, not too dark or crisp, remove from the pan and drain well.
  2. Beat the eggs well and season to taste. Add the potato slices and combine with the egg.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large deep-sided frying pan and pour in the egg and potato mixture. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting to gently cook your tortilla without burning the bottom. Gently shake the pan occasionally to prevent sticking and check the setting consistency of the centre of the omelette.
  4. Once the the lower half of the omelette is set you can either invert the omelette on to a plate and slide back into the pan to continue cooking or place the pan under a hot grill to cook the top. Once cooked and set, turn out onto a board for cutting and serving. You are aiming for a set consistency but not too dry, which would indicate that it has been over-cooked.
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