The Spanish word tortilla, “little cake,” was used for this potato omelet and other similar dishes long before it was adopted for flatbread in the New World. Making the potatoes properly tender and creamy for this dish requires poaching them slowly in olive oil. Cut it into bite-sized pieces to serve as an appetizer, or cut it into wedges and serve it as part of a weekend brunch menu.
- 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) plus 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 lb. (1 kg) waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into slices 1/4 inch (6 mm) thick
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 leek, white part only, thinly sliced
- 6 large eggs
1. In a large fry pan over medium-low heat, warm the 1 cup (8 fl oz./250 ml) olive oil. Add half of the potatoes, season with salt and pepper, and fry, turning occasionally, until the slices are tender but not browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Using a slotted spatula or spoon, transfer the potatoes to a colander placed over a bowl. Repeat with the remaining potatoes. Leave the oil in the pan.
2. In another fry pan over medium heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onion and leek and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft and the leek tender, about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. Using a slotted spoon, add the onion and leek. Fold in the cooked potatoes. Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the potatoes to absorb some of the egg.
4. Pour off all but 1/3 cup (80 ml) of the oil from the large fry pan and place it over low heat. Pour in the vegetable-egg mixture. Cook until the bottom of the omelet is set and golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes, shaking the pan regularly to avoid sticking. Invert a large round platter on top of the pan, invert the pan and plate together, and lift off the pan. Slide the omelet back into the pan and return it to low heat. Cook until the second side is set, about 4 minutes.
5. Invert the tortilla again onto a plate. Wipe away any smears of oil from the edge of the plate with paper towels. Let it stand until slightly cooled, at least 10 minutes. Cut into pieces and serve hot or at room temperature. Serves 6 to 8.
Find more than 100 recipes for the simple, unassuming and satisfying food of the Spanish countryside in Rustic Spanish, by Paul Richardson.