Saturday, 17 November 2007

Tortilla, aka Spanish Omelet

I have never been able to flip a tortilla successfully, so I was relieved to discover in Spain last summer that many Spaniards make their tortilla in the oven. A lot of them don't even do that - they buy it at the store, wrapped in plastic! Phooey. If you do them in the oven, they are not hard at all, and make a simple and delicous light meal with some soup or salad. I am told that other vegetables are used besides potato, but in the parts of Spain where we were the only debate was whether to add onion or not. Go for it, I say.

4 to 6 servings
40 minutes, and you'll need to be there mucking about.

Tortilla or Spanish Omelet6 extra large eggs

6 smallish potatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion (if you want)
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350°. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat them together. Set them aside. (You are doing this now because they should be at room-temperature.)

Wash your potatoes - they should each be a bit larger than the eggs, perhaps up to twice as large - and put them in a pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Drain them, and cool them enough to handle. Cut them in cubes of about 1 centimetre.

Heat the oil in a large skillet that can go into the oven, over medium heat. Add the potatoes and cook them for 10 minutes, turning them regularly. They should not get brown really, but they should be cooked through. While you are doing that, peel and finely chop the onion. Add it after the 10 minutes and cook for another 3 or 4 minutes, until the onion is soft, stirring more frequently to prevent the onion from browning.

If the potatoes seem to be swimming in oil, drain most of it off, but I'm afraid you will find that most of it has been absorbed and the potatoes are merely greasy. Such is life. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper to taste, and arrange the potatoes to lie as flat in the pan as you can.

Turn off the stove, and pour the eggs evenly over and around the potatoes. Stick down any potatoes that are inclined to break too far above the surface. Remove the pan to the oven, and bake it for, say, 6 to 8 minutes. Watch it closely after 5 minutes. It should be mostly but not entirely set in the middle when you remove it, as it will continue to cook for a few minutes once it is out of the oven.

When it is cool enough to handle, flip it out onto a large platter. Serve it warm (not hot) or at room temperature. This can be made a day in advance; refrigerate it but bring it back up to room temperature to serve it.

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