”Now you can stay,” Angel told me when I had mastered the tortilla. Known as a “Spanish omelet,” in the United States, this savory dish resembles neither an American-made omelet nor a Mexican taco’s tortilla. It can be found on almost any menu in Spain, but is best enjoyed in a Spanish home, made to order, with an open bottle of vino tinto next to the chef, the red wine adding the only color to a skillet and table of earthy tones. Here, we share the secrets (and adaptations to make this, stateside) to the dish we devour at least once a week.
“Time only matters when you are piloting an airplane, so you do not run out of fuel.” - Christine
But for all of you Americans who want to know how long it will take, here you go, más or menos. Your time will more or less depend on your cutting skills and whether you open the bottle of wine before or after you add the potatoes to the skillet.
Prep time: 10-15 minutes (depending on how fast you are with a knife)
Cook time: 30-40 minutes (to serve two people; add 5-10 minutes for each additional serving)
1. Peel potatoes
2. Slice potatoes as thin as possible. Angel is very good with a knife and can quickly slice them very thin. I failed my USMC depth perception test (true story) and prefer to use a peeler to slice the potatoes to better avoid slicing my fingers. In the end, my slices are thinner than Angel’s and cook faster. For extremely large batches, you can use a mandolin slicer on the smallest blade, but the slices will be thicker and take a bit longer to cook. Slice evenly for even cooking.
N.B. The best potato slices should be nearly transparent! See the slice on the right, below, for a good example.
3. Add oil to a large skillet and heat on medium. You should use enough oil to cover the entire bottom of the pan and then some.
4. Slice or dice onions. You choose the size, but not too big. The smaller the pieces, the less noticeable they will be (texture), for those who are a little tiquismiquis, and let’s face it, we all have a picky eater in our family.
5. Add the potatoes and onions to the pan and turn on high heat.
6. Stir/flip regularly to cook evenly and prevent burning. A little crispiness is okay and actually adds a nice texture to the dish.
7. If you have a ham leg in your kitchen, cut some for a tapa while you are cooking. Jamón is probably the signature small plate of this country. Jamón is to Spain what carpaccio is to Italy, but with even more importance. N.B. For English speakers, jamón is ham (specifically, cured ham, and the ibérico black hoof is best) and the J in Spanish is pronounced like an H in English. For Spanish speakers, jam is mermelada. You’re welcome, for when you order a pizza.
8. Cook until the potatoes are soft and begin to fall apart.
9. Beat two eggs in a bowl. Add the seasoning to your liking. We prefer: a heavy sprinkle of parsley and pepper, two pinches of salt (most pure Spaniards will spill half a salt shaker into the dish), and a pinch of garlic.
10. Add cooked potatoes to the eggs to fill the bowl, careful not to overwhelm the eggs with potatoes. It should appear full, but still runny.
11. Heat a small skillet with a little oil (some drops from the cooked potatoes will do) on medium-high heat (I use 7 out of 9).
12. Pour potatoes and egg mix into skillet and move it around so it does stick.
13. When the edges appear slightly cooked, prepare to flip. Place a plate over the pan. Hold it in place and flip the tortilla onto the plate. Slide it back into the pan to cook the other side.
14. Our family likes dippy, runny, lightly cooked eggs. So after a quick moment on the other side, we are ready to finish the tortilla. Flip it, once more, back onto the plate.
15. Eat. Drink. Be happy.
Christine & Angel
Aisle or window
He likes the window; she likes the aisle. Match made at FL350. Here are some other travel preferences. Full disclaimer: These are affiliate links, meaning the authors are rewarded for referrals (usually in the form of a credit to use more of the product/service themselves). Pinky promise: Recommendations are simply the best.
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When we are not hitchhiking through the airport and landing in foreign lands, Christine is teaching English in Spain. She also offers classes via Skype, allowing you to learn from the comfort of your home, with flexible scheduling. Click the photo below for more information.
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Airbnb is the preferred accomodation for Christine & Angel when they want to connect with locals, want to keep their entire group under one roof with the privacy of separate bedrooms, or when staying in a place known for expensive hotels. Click here or on the photo below to save on your first stay.
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