16 February 2015

Tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette)

For most Spanish people this is not just a classic, is basic food. It's what you cook when you have no idea of what to cook. It's the classic tapa that is in every single bar (or pincho, or raciĆ³n, depends on where you are and how big the portion is). It's what you make into a sandwhich for a day out in the country side, or when people ask you to bring food for a party. It's delicious hot or cold. And, most of all, there is a whole art to it, even competitions to see who can make the best tortilla. This is just my version, the one that works for me, and of course, the best of all!

Some people like it with onion, some with red or green peppers and some just with the potatoes. I prefer it with the onions and I would dare say that that's the classic one, but I'll have thousands of people yelling at me. The same amount I'll have if I say that just potato and egg is the classic Spanish omelette. 

One of the most important things is that if you are making an omelette, is to share. To share with family or with lots of friends. It is something you rarely cook for yourself (unless you really like it!). You can cut it into slices like a pizza or into squares with individual toothpicks for everyone to take a piece. It is always served with bread, whether as a sandwich or as a side. And the drink that goes with it is beer. A cold larger. 

Serves 2
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large potato or two medium ones
  • Sunflower or vegetable oil for deep frying (around 250 ml, but it depends on the size of your pan, mine is around 20 cm/8 in)
  • A pinch of salt

Peel and dice the onion and the potato into small pieces. In the meantime, heat the oil in the pan. The onion and the potato should fit in the pan and be covered with hot oil, take this into account when calculating the amount of oil used.

Once the oil is pipping hot add the onion to the pan. You can test if the oil is ready by dropping one piece of onion into the hot oil, if it starts bubbling and frying immediately, the oil is ready. Fry for around 5 minutes until the onion is golden.

In the meantime beat the eggs in a large bowl. Season with salt to the taste. I like to leave the eggs a little bit under-beaten, it gives the omelette even more texture.

Once the onion is done remove it from the pan. For this I usually pour oil and onion through a strainer and press the onion to remove extra oil. Then return the oil to the pan and add the onion to the beaten eggs.

Check whether you have enough oil for the potatoes. It should be enough to cover them. Add the diced potatoes to the pan. The oil should be hot already (you an check as before by adding one piece to the pan). 

Once the potatoes are cooked and golden remove from the oil. You can do as before using the strainer, but this time do not return the oil to the pan.
Add the potatoes to the onion and egg and mix everything well carefully not to break the potatoes.

Add a bit of oil to the pan and reduce to a medium heat. If it's a non-stick pan you can even skip this step and use any residual oil left in the pan from frying the potatoes. Pour in the egg, onion and potato mix and flatten the top with a spatula. Leave to cook for a few minutes. You need to wait until the bottom is golden and the omelette is cook to a bit more than half way through.

The next step is the tricky one and the challenge to most people. You have to turn the omelette around. Loose the sides of the omelette with the spatula and if the bottom part doesn't break then it's ready. The only way I have managed to turn it is by using a plate. You put the plate on top of the pan (as in the picture). Hold the pan and the plate together so the are very tight (dominant hand in the plate and the other hand in the handle of the pan) and then turn the pan around. You flip it over, so you have the pan on top and the plate under, that way the omelette fells into the plate without spilling anything (in theory...). 

Using the spatula return the omelette to the pan carefully, trying to keep all the uncooked egg at the bottom. Cook for a few more minutes until all the egg is done. Then put on a plate and serve.

Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 2 Servings
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 378
Calories from Fat 165
Total Fat 18.3g28%
Saturated Fat 4.5g22%
Cholesterol 382mg127%
Sodium 573mg24%
Potassium 788mg23%
Carbohydrates 36.8g12%
Dietary Fiber 2.7g11%
Sugars 4.6g
Protein 16.3g
Vitamin A 14% · Vitamin C 35%
Calcium 7% · Iron 14%

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