Tortilla de patata [Spanish omelette]Posted: September 28, 2010
No matter how much effort, love and care you put into it, someone mother’s tortilla will be always better than yours. And don’t even mention the supreme interpretation of this Spanish classic done by all Mothers-in-Law – specially yours. To stay away from trouble, I use the recipe I found in the book: Tapas: Simple Flavours, Striking Combinations by Carlos Horrillo and Patrick Morcas, and call it potato and caramelized onion omelette.
Tortilla de patata [Spanish omelette]
- 1.5 Kg Desiree red potatoes (I use 1Kg of parboiled roesti potatoes. Most Spanish Mothers and Mothers-in-Law would be horrified if they knew).
- Olive oil
- 1 large Spanish onion (always a controversial topic. For some, a proper tortilla de patata has nothing but eggs and potatoes; others would call the thought an heresy).
- knob of butter
- 10 eggs (no typo: it is indeed ten eggs you are going to need).
- Salt and pepper
Peel the potatoes, cut them in half, and then cut each half into slices 1.5cm thick. Place in a pan of cold, salter water ad bring the to the boil. Parboil, or until just tender enough to pierce with a knife. Drain and leave to one side.
In a large, non-stick frying pan, around 30cm in diameter (preferably with slopping side because it will make turning the tortilla easier later on), place 12 dashes of olive oil and put on a low to medium heat (this is liberal quantity of olive oil – enough to cover the bottom of the pan with a thick film). Toss in the sliced onions and a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and start to fry them. Once the onions start to sizzle, turn the heat down to low and add the knob of butter. Cook the onions until they are soft and golden, and then remove them with a slotted spoon and place to one side.
Return the pan to medium heat, and add the par-boiled potatoes, a generous pinch of salt and a small pinch of pepper. Fry gently for 2 minutes, turning frequently or until the potatoes are lightly crisp and and golden on the outside while soft on the inside. Just before they are done, return the onions to the pan, stir them well and cook them together for about a minute. When done, remove everything with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl to one side. You will need the oil that was left at the pan for later.
Crack the eggs into a large bowl, add 2 generous pinch of salt, a small pinch of pepper and beat lightly together. Add the cooked potato and onion mixture and still well. Leave to stand for a few minutes, to allow the ingredients to marry.
Return the pan to medium to high head, add 6 more dashes of olive oil (again, until you have a thick oil film that covers the surface of the pan. Tilt the pan until the bottom is well coated. Do not forget to do is, or else you have parts of the tortilla firmly sticked to the bottom of the pan. Not a nice tortilla technique…). Heat the oil until smoking hot, then poor in the egg mixture, moving the pan in a gentle, circular motion to distribute the ingredients evenly and prevent the eggs to stick and burn. Cook for about 30 seconds, then turn down the heat to medium low, and cook for further 4 minutes, shacking the pan gently every so often. Do not stir! (Seriously, do not! If you stir, it will be a completely different dish). When the tortilla start to bubble on the side, it is time to turn over. If this the first time at doing this, prepare for a mess (let’s face the facts – it will get messy. It took a few times before Mr Burntsugar got the hang of it, but now he is an expert. I am more on the supervision and management side of things).
Find a suitable plate, large enough to cover the face of the pan with space to spare, and sit it face down on top. Hold firmly onto the handle of the pan with one hand and use the other hand to press down firmly the plate. Now, in one fast move, lift the pan of the stove and flip it over onto the plate. Remove the pan (hopefully, there’ll be little, if anything, left stuck to the base, and not a horrible mess to clean in the kitchen). Clean thoroughly the pan with kitchen paper roll. It is very important the bottom of the pan has no egg leftovers and burnt egg stick to it. Set down the pan while you add 12 more dashed of olive oil and tilt the pan to make sure the bottom is coated with a thick film of olive oil. When the oil is smoking hot, carefully slide the half cooked tortilla into the pan to cook on the other side. You might need to shake the pan gently and tuck in the sides of the tortilla with a wooden spatula because they will probably look a bit jagged. Allow the tortilla to cook in hight heat for about 30 seconds, then reduce the heat to medium low heat and cook for further 4 minutes. This should leave you with a tortilla moist in the middle (when the tortilla is this cooked to its point is another heated controversy). If you are the ones who prefer it firmer, cook it for a few minutes more, preferably before carbonization. When the tortilla is cooked to your taste, slide it onto a clean plate to cool down slightly. Serve it warm, at room temperature, cut in slice, in little cubes…