Spanish Omelette or "Tortilla de Patatas"
Tortilla de Patatas
IF you are a regular tourist visiting southern Europe, you probably already know that Spain is famous for its sun and wonderful sandy beaches, flamenco dance shows, "corridas de toros" (bull fights), night life, passionate romance, outstanding futbol players, good wine and excellent food.
Once you are in Spain, you will soon notice that there are restaurants, cafeterias and assorted specialized eating places everywhere. People seem to be eating or drinking no matter the time of the day, although the Spaniards do have definite scheduled meal times:
Mid-morning Breakfast (Almuerzo),
Afternoon snack (Merienda),
Late night snack (Resopon)
There is yet another very popular meal that can be eaten anytime during the day called "Tapas” (equivalent to our word snack, or aperitif).
All over the country, friends and business partners get together before lunch or dinner, go to the nearest Bar and order some "Tapas" with a cold beer as an aperitif.
One of the Spanish favourite "Tapas" is the famous "Tortilla de Patatas" or Spanish potato omelette. A Tortilla de Patatas is basically a big pancake made of eggs, potatos and onions, fried in virgin Spanish olive oil. The secret of the recipe consists in making it juicy, which depends on the way you fry the potatoes and onions, the amount of oil used, etc.
This delicious meal --which is usually served for dinner time in many Spanish households—can also be enjoyed in Restaurants or Cafeterias as part of the course meal, or as a "Tapa" or aperitif.
If you sit down to eat at a restaurant, they will usually serve you half an omelette --which is usually half the size of your plate--, but If you try it as a tapa --sitting at the counter--, they will serve you a few small square or triangular portions pierced with a toothpick for easier handling.
Other common "tapas" are:
"calamares a la romana" (deep fried battered slices of squid)
"tacos" de jamon o queso (small cubes of cheese or cured salty ham)
"pulpitos" (baby octopuses)
"almejas" or "berberechos" (shelled clams of differnt sizes)
"gambas a la plancha" (grilled shrimps)
And many other delicacies, including all kinds of olives, snails, champignons, etc.
Tortilla de Patatas Recipe
Ingredients: 4 big sized potatos, half a big onion, 4 fresh eggs, one cup of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper.
Peel the potatos and the onion. Thinly slice them in flakes. Medium heat up the olive oil in an iron frying pan and fry the potatos and onions till they are tender --but not brown--, occasionally removing it with a wooden spoon. Drain the oil out. Crack the eggs into a medium sized porcelain bowl and beat them till they are foamy. Pour the fried potatos and onion in the bowl and mix it with the eggs, add salt and pepper and let it all rest for five minutes.
Put a medium-size, clean -non stick- frying pan on the stove and pour a little bit of oil. When the oil is hot --but not too hot--, pour the potatos and egg mixture inside. Holding the frying pan by the handle, move it in a circular motion to make the omelette move inside and not stick to the bottom. Let it cook at medium heat untill little bubbles appear on the surface and the edges are already detached. Now comes the tricky part (usually takes a few tries and mishaps until you learn how to do it right): Put a lid or big plate on top of the frying pan and -holding the handle with one hand and the lid with the other--,quickly overturn it, making the omelette land on the lid golden size up. Add some more oil to the pan--if needed--and let the omelette slide from the lid back into the frying pan to golden both sides.
The result is a delicious rich omelette that will
the most demanding customer. One peculiarity of this dish, is that is even nicer eaten the next day and cold.
If you are visiting Catalunya and ordering “Tortilla de Patatas”, make sure to also order “Pan con Tomate” to complement the experience. "Pan con tomate" is freshly baked bread with natural tomato spread, olive oil and salt. You can eat it as "Bocadillo" (sandwich).
There are variations to the recipe, depending on the region or the personal taste. Some add Jamon, chorizo, peppers, garlic, tomatos, mushrooms, etc.
Popular Drinks in Spain
Spain is also notable for their citrus produce, specially the area of Valencia, Alicante and Murcia. If you have access to a good juicer, you can enjoy the pleasures of a healthy freshly made orange or lemon juice.
Another speciality of the region of Valencia, is the "horchata de chufa" . This is a delicious beverage made of the milk of tiny roots --that look a bit like peanuts-- and fresh water. It is very refreshing and nutritive.
You shouldn´t leave Spain without tasting "Sangria" , which is a punch made of red wine, lemon, fruit, sugar and ice cubes. It is mild, but goes to your head quite fast.
In northern Spain you can taste "Sidra", (cider) which is made of fermented apples. They have a peculiar way to pour it from very high over their heads, sometimes over their shoulder and into your cup without spilling a single drop.
In Jerez de la Frontera, you can taste a variety of excellent dry and sweet sherry in one of their many "bodegas" or cellars.