Tortilla Española.

Tortilla Española @ by Paul Palop

So you think you can cook? I don’t mean to deter you from that cooking obsession thing we’re all too familiar with (quite the opposite) but omelette-making is a true test for any cook. Tortilla española is not exactly an omelet but similar enough and the skill set is the same basically. I’ll admit I have messed up my fair share of omelettes and tortillas españolas in my years of cooking. It’s not easy and if I’m not focused on a given day I will very likely screw it up. 

If there was ever an ingredient that required gentle and precise cooking that is the beloved egg. Sous vide could come to the rescue here and take away all the fun but I like a challenge and when it comes to cooking challenges, tortilla española is a really fun one. This spanish omelette is originally and traditionally cooked with only potatoes. It’s also known as tortilla de patatas or potato omelet. The are a few variants out there and my favorite one has yellow onions. Don’t use red ones, trust me. 

Ingredients (makes 2 good servings or 4-6 tapas):

200g diced yellow onion. About 1/2. 

300g diced potato. About 2. I like using waxy potatoes. Better texture. 

4 fresh eggs. 

1 Tbsp EVOO

pinch of salt. 

Cooking the onions and the potatoes. 

Gently sauté the onions and potatoes together in the EVOO with a pinch of salt until the potatoes are soft but not mushy. The onions should be translucent and soft as well. Some browning is ok. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Use a nonstick pan and cover every 2-3 minutes, allowing to steam away. Stir a bit and allow to cook away for another 2-3 mins while stirring. Reserve and allow to rest while you prepare the eggs. 

Beating the eggs. 

Crack four eggs into a bowl. Using a fork and keeping the fork submerged under the eggs to avoid mixing in air from the outside, beat until the whites and the yolks come together. About 2 mins. 

Mixing it all. 

Mix the eggs into the nonstick pan where you have the potatoes/onion mix. Fold in the eggs, make sure that the eggs are well integrated and return to the stove over low heat. I can’t stress enough the LOW in low heat. 

Tortilla Española @ by Paul Palop

Cooking the omelette. 

It’s all about low heat and having the lid on. So make sure your pan/pot has a fitting one. This is where giving you a cooking time would be pointless. Every pan shape will determine the cooking time, which is not a good thing, because you don’t want too much browning on the outside of the omelette (true french omelets aren’t actually browned at all). If you want a tall omelette like the one in the picture (a little over an inch tall) that took about 10 mins undisturbed and with the lid on the entire time in the lowest heat setting. Classic tortilla española browning. Not bad.  The core was still a bit creamy but that can be a feature if you know what I’m talking about. Use a thermometer to check the core temperature. Make sure is around 75C-80C tops.  

The good ole’ tortilla flip trick.  

Perhaps one of the most daunting cooking maneuvers in the kitchen. It can easily end up in disaster when the omelet hasn’t reached the proper core temperature while the exterior is already cooked properly. Or if the omelet is stuck to the pan (a true kitchen nightmare) For the record, I didn’t flip mine because I didn’t need to, but in the past and depending on all those cooking variables (I won’t bore you with), the core might simply be too runny and the browning on the outside about to get too dark.

Time to flip that bad boy. I usually use a small cutting board slightly bigger than the circumference of the pan, make sure the cutting board covers the whole area of the pan. Press the cutting board against the pan. Expect spillage, oh yeah, it happens often. Pull this maneuver over the sink or something you can easily clean later. Press the cutting board against the top of the skillet, flip the 2 together making sure the cutting board is at all times pressed against the pan (can’t stress this enough) Place the pan back on the stove or the countertop. Slide the flipped omelet back into the pan. Finish the cooking that way. Good luck. The importance of a good nonstick pan here speaks for itself. 

Special pans were invented years ago to avoid the tortilla-flip nightmare.  Good night. 

Tortilla Española @ by Paul Palop



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