A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Tortilla Española

Or frittata. Or omelet. Or kuku. It's pretty much the same thing around here: the best way to use up random vegetables and have a light dinner. I make Spanish omelets pretty regularly, often when we are recovering from something meat-laden the night before.

Most vegetables work well. Here are some of my favorite combinations:

- Swiss chard (leaves and stems) and potatoes
- young eggplant and basil
- spinach and assorted fresh herbs
- rosemary, garlic, potatoes, and onions

Really, though, anything goes. Zucchini is great. Asparagus is great. I almost always use an onion. I would probably stay away from the winter squashes and the lighter lettuces, but heck, I could be persuaded.

I use a nonstick 12" skillet for this, because it sticks horribly to non-nonstick cookware, especially if it contains potatoes. The skillet needs to have an oven-safe handle, because it spends a minute or two under the broiler.

First, cut up the vegetables. I cut onions into rings here because it looks pretty and adds texture. Most other big vegetables I cut into roughly 1" cubes. Asparagus is in 2" lengths. Leafy things are chopped. Garlic is minced.

Saute the vegetables in olive oil in the proper order and at the proper temperatures. I'm sorry I can't be more help than that, but it's going to matter whether you use potatoes (cook them first using medium-high heat so they form a skin, then remove from the pan and cook the onions) or garlic (add it last so it doesn't burn) or zucchini (saute for just a minute or two, and don't crowd the pan or it'll get watery).

Preheat the broiler.

Now, here's the key, I'm convinced: salt the vegetables to taste before you add the eggs.

Then turn the stove heat down to medium low and add:

- 6 to 8 eggs, beaten with 1 teaspoon salt
- any herbs you may be using

Stir to distribute the eggs and arrange the vegetables evenly. Top with:

- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, if you like, or some other cheese (Swiss? As with the vegetables, anything goes.)
- grated black pepper

Cook for 3 to 6 minutes on the stove, until the middle is mostly set when you jiggle the pan. Then put it under the broiler for a minute or two until slightly brown.

I prefer my tortilla española at room temperature.


Kris said...

I love green (Spanish) olives in a frittata.

Do you know about the Denver Sandwich? Grandma used to make that: a scrambled-egg skillet with ham and green pepper, fried into a firm mass, served between slices of toasted bread. It was great.

Eva said...

I never had one of Grandma's, but it must be a Canadian thing. When I helped Dad, you, and Russell move up to Alaska, I ordered a Denver sandwich at just about every Canadian diner we stopped at along the way. There were a lot of diner lunches because there was a lot of construction, and for some reason Denver sandwiches were on every menu and I ordered one every time. I think of that trip as the Denver sandwich expedition of 1998. I haven't had one since.