Saturday, June 14, 2014

Tortilla Española (Omelet with Potatoes)

The Spanish word "tortilla" translates simply into "small cake". In Mexico it is used to describe the familiar breads from corn or flour used as the basis for burritos, enchiladas and the like. In Spain, it is used to describe this omelet with potatoes, the Spanish equivalent of a fritata. It's a filling, delicious dish that can easily be used for a hearty breakfast or a light lunch or dinner.

One note: don't skimp on the oil, or you'll never get the crispy golden crust. 

The Book: The Culinary Institute of America's Breakfasts and Brunches.

Description: This book comes from one of the top cooking schools in the United States, and it offers an impressive array of breakfast and brunch choices, complete with a few menu suggestions at the beginning. The recipes range from breakfast drinks through to salads and sandwiches, and from the simplest items (such as soft boiled eggs) to more sophisticated takes on familiar foods. The book definitely leans towards the American view of breakfast, with plenty of recipes for pancakes, waffles, muffins and pastries. However, there are also some other offerings. While the book is geared towards breakfast, many of the recipes in it can easily be used for a light meal at other times of the day.

Language: English.

Genre: breakfast, pastries, light meals.

Veg Status: the majority of the book is vegetarian friendly, although definitely not vegan-friendly. There is only one section dedicated to meat, and even that one also offers a wide range of vegetarian potato recipes such as hash browns. The other sections contain very few recipes with meat, and most of those easily convertible to vegetarian.

GF Status: Not great. Most of the book is dedicated to pastries of all sorts, obviously heavy on the gluten.  You will find some fine options in the egg section as well as the salads, and an experienced GF baker armed with a good flour alternative can probably make most of the other recipes work, but I wouldn't buy this book as a gift for the celiac in my life.

Tortilla Española

Ingredients (for 4 servings): 

- 1 large onion, minced or very finely diced
- 1 green bell pepper, finely diced
- 2 large potatoes (or 3-4 smaller ones), medium dice
- 8 eggs
- 1-2 tbsp chopped cilantro (optional) 
-1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp of olive oil, divided


1. In a large frying pan, heat about 2 tsp of olive oil over medium heat and add the onion and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent. 

2. Add the potatoes and salt, stir, lower heat, and cover. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are fairly soft. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the chopped cilantro (if using). Add the vegetable mixture to the eggs and stir. 

4. Add the rest of the oil to the pan over high heat, and make sure the pan is very hot before adding the egg mixture. Allow the eggs to cook until set, without stirring. When the bottom of the eggs becomes golden brown, carefully flip the eggs over with a spatula and cook until they get the same color on the other side. 

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