Monday, February 20, 2012

Spanish Omelet

... or sometimes called a tortilla, or if of the Italian persuasion, a frittata. According to my kids however, it has the less sophisticated moniker of 'egg pizza'. Either way, my version is definitely a hybrid of a Spanish tortilla and an Italian Frittata. It is a little thinner than a tortilla yet retains the traditional ingredients of potato and onion. Anyway, here's what I did:

I took a heavy cast iron pan and started individually sauteeing the ingredients. First I lightly browned some sliced button mushrooms and put them aside. Then I rendered some cubed pancetta and put those aside. Into the bacon fat went half an onion finely diced until those too were ready to be put aside. Lastly, I put in some thinly sliced and peeled russet potato (enough to scatter in one layer on the bottom of the pan). I dropped the heat and very gently frizzled the potatoes, flipping a few times, until they were tender and slightly browned. At this point, I seasoned the potatoes and then returned the mushrooms, onion and bacon to the pan. I evenly distributed all the ingredients on the bottom of the pan and then poured in five eggs which had been beaten vigorously with a bit of salt and some smoked Spanish paprika. I dropped the heat and allowed the omelet to gently cook about half way through. Then I sprinkled some grated white cheddar on top (hardly a Spanish cheese, but it works in a pinch), and put my omelet under the broiler to set the top and melt the cheese. The broiling should be very gentle and the pan placed a little bit farther away from the heat source in the oven if possible. The eggs can overcook and puff up into a very dry and unappetizing monstrosity if too much heat is applied too quickly. Keep an eye on it!  The fact that I broiled it in the oven is what sets it apart from a proper Spanish tortilla which is cooked entirely on the stove top with a little bit of deft juggling and the introduction of a large plate to flip the thing over. This also involves inverting a very hot and very heavy cast iron skillet - I try to avoid this.

Anyway, once it is done, you can eat it right away hot (which I prefer), but it can also be eaten at room temperature, which is much more traditional in Spain. I served it on a board with a garnish of fresh pea shoots. Cut up like a pizza. My kids eat it with ketchup, but it's much nicer (and probably more grown-up) to be enjoyed with a bit of Lea & Perrins or pickled chillies.

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