Bocadillo El Camino: Spanish Omelet Sandwich To Go

By • June 18, 2013 • 23 Comments

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Author Notes: My go-to road trip sandwich when I visit Spain is the ubiquitous and satisfying Spanish omelet (also known as tortilla española) on a sweet baguette. It's cheap, fast, tasty, and ever so Spanish. This sandwich has trekked with me on many a train trip, plane ride, and afternoon in the park. In Spain, it usually doesn't come with the addition of allioli (the Catalonian version of aioli), and since it potentially won't travel well on longer trips, feel free to leave it off; if you like instead, lightly rub the cut side of bread with the cut side of a clove of garlic for an extra kick. For a fun flourish, add some Manchego cheese or a slice of dry Spanish ham like jamón serrano; what they lack in tradition they will make up for deliciousness.

I use a method of par-cooking the potatoes in the microwave because I have zero patience for how long they take in the pan when they go in raw, and I feel like I get more consistently cooked potatoes when I par-cook them first (I use this method for homefries, too). If you have more patience than I do, feel free to skip the microwave step, and plan to cook the potatoes longer in the pan. Also, you have a lot of leeway with the amount of potato and egg you use; if you want a less dense omelet, use less potato and add more egg. The cream is optional and will give the omelet a little extra bounce. I don't go out of my way to buy cream, though, and only use it if I happen to have some in the fridge. Lastly, I finish my tortilla off in the oven, which again is not traditional, but I just find that it works more consistently for me. If you want to go the "real" route, finish the tortilla on the stovetop, sliding it out and flipping it (with the aid of a plate) a little past mid-way to cook from both the top and bottom.
vvvanessa

Food52 Review: vvvanessa's sandwich is delicious and satisfying -- I'd love to eat it on any road trip I take. It's a bit messy to eat while driving, so a wayside picnic stop is a good idea. vvvanessa's method of par-cooking the potatoes in the microwave makes it much easier to create the omelet. The mildly sweet omelet goes beautifully with the garlicky allioli and the tangy tomato. If you don't want to make the allioli, you can make a fine substitute by toasting the inside of the bread under the broiler, rubbing it with garlic, and then spreading on store-bought mayo. hardlikearmour

Makes 4 sandwiches

Bocadillo El Camino

  • 1 1/2 pounds non-waxy potatoes, like Russet or Yukon Gold
  • 1/4 cup virgin or extra virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
  • 1 small white onion, thinly sliced
  • 9 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream (optional)
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 sweet baguette (the slightly wider rustic-style is great)
  • 1 to 2 fresh, ripe tomatoes
  • Allioli, optional, recipe below
  1. Peel the potatoes, and slice them about 1/4-inch thick. Lay them in the middle of a clean, cotton dish towel, and jumble the pieces around a bit. Fold the towel snugly around the potatoes, overlapping all the edges to make a burrito-like bundle.
  2. Microwave the bundle in 60-second increments, turning and flipping the bundle and shaking it around a bit after each cycle, until the potatoes become transluscent. This should take 3 to 4 minutes. The potatoes should be tender, but not soft. Take care handling the hot bundle and the steam that will come out when you open it.
  3. Heat the oven to 400º F. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully add in the onions and potatoes and cook until the onions are soft, stirring frequently, about 5 to 7 minutes. Neither the onions nor the potatoes should be browned, but just softened. Adjust the heat as necessary.
  4. Beat the eggs and cream (if using) and pour them into the pan. Pull back the edges of the omelet to allow the egg to run to the bottom of the pan (a rubber or silicone spatula works well for this). Repeat around the edges until you've gone all the way around the omelet a couple of times and the bottom begins to firm up, about 5 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper. Place the pan in the oven and cook the omelet until just set, about 8 to 10 minutes. Take care not to overcook; the top can still look a little shiny with egg and should not be brown.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
  7. To prepare the sandwiches, slice the baguette into four equal lengths, then slice those pieces lenghtwise.
  8. Cut the tomatoes at their equators; on the bottom half of the baguette, smush the cut-side of the tomato, squeezing out the juice, seeds, and some of the flesh onto the bread. Top with slices of omelet. On the top half of the baguette, spread some allioli. Assemble the sandwich, wrap in up in some wax paper, and pretend you're in Spain. Unless you actually are in Spain, in which case, yay for you!

Allioli

  • 1 fresh egg yolk at room temperature
  • 1 medium clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 cup light, virgin olive oil, or a 50-50 mix of extra-virgin olive oil and a neutral oil like canola or sunflower
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  1. Place the egg yolk in a tall measuring cup or tumbler with the garlic and a splash of the olive oil. Using an immersion blender, begin to blend the ingredients for a few seconds, until they are mixed. Add in another splash of oil and mix again. Continue adding in oil a bit at a time until about half of it is incorporated. From there, you can pour in bigger splashes of oil so long as you are making sure it is completely emulsified before adding in the next splash. At this point, you'll need to move the blender in a slight up and down motion to be sure everything is being incorporated, but you also want to be careful not to overbeat the mixture.
  2. Finally, add in the salt and lemon juice and blend just to combine. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Jump to Comments (23)

Comments (23) Questions (0)

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about 1 year ago cucina di mammina

This is a wonderful recipe and as an Italian who grew up eating vegetable frittatas for breakfast, lunch and dinner... this recipe simply feels like home. i will be making this one very soon, grazie tante!

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about 1 year ago Ken Woytisek

Vvvanessa,
Everyone chooses their own poison. For me, it's sashimi and oysters! :)

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about 1 year ago Ken Woytisek

vvvanessa,
The risk of getting salmonella poisoning is minimal for a healthy person. For more information on the science please refer to Harold McGee's "On Food and Science." The regulations may vary from state to state and county to county but I think the standards have changed. :)

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about 1 year ago vvvanessa

Thanks, Ken. I personally don't worry about raw eggs for myself. Salmonella poisoning is rare in people who are not infants, elderly, or immuno-compromised, but I was responding originally to beejay45 who was asking about salmonella below. Restaurants, as I'm sure you know, have to meet different standards and have a lot more at risk, hence the coddled eggs and/or the pasteurized eggs and/or the disclaimers on menus about eating raw or undercooked eggs and meat.

Me, though, I'll eat cookie dough and cake batter and aioli and steak tartare and whatever else you want to throw my way!

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about 1 year ago Ken Woytisek

vvvanessa,
A coddled egg does not kill salmonella. Most restaurants use pasteurized egg yolks which come frozen in convenient cartons. The risk of using raw egg yolks is mainly the reason and the restaurant would not want to be held liable and possibly wind up getting sued by a customer that became ill. I make my Caesar Salad without the egg yolk if I don't have pasteurized yolks. More like a Caesar vinaigrette :)

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about 1 year ago vvvanessa

There are restaurants where I've worked who used coddled eggs for Caesar dressing to make it compliant with the health department. I don't know if those standards have changed or what science they are based on or if they vary from area to area, but we always used fresh eggs, coddled, in our dressing, and it was considered safe in terms of salmonella.

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about 1 year ago Chef Ken

Beejay45
There is not enough acid in lemon juice to make the egg safe. The reason why lemon juice is not added to the egg yolk is that it will denature the yolk. If you want

a "safe" egg you should use pasteurized eggs (which can be difficult to find depending on where you live.) Another alternative is to make the ailloli without the egg yolk. It's not as stable but there is enough lecithin in the garlic to act as an emulsifier. You just have to stir the ailloli more frequently to keep it together. :)

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about 1 year ago beejay45

Thanks, Chef Ken. I'd always heard that there was enough acid in the lemon juice to kill any salmonella, and it made life easy, so I never verified it. Thanks also for the info on the lecithin in the garlic. That is a total surprise and something very handy to keep in mind.

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about 1 year ago vvvanessa

Thanks for the info, Chef Ken. I'm guessing you could also use a coddled egg, which is what a lot of restaurants do to make things like Caesar salad dressing. I've not tried it for allioli before, though.

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about 1 year ago Lawyerjen

Oh, this recipe takes me back to being an exchange student in Spain and having my crazy Señora send me bocados de tortilla for my trips. One day, I convinced her to slip some chopped NM green chile into the tortilla, and I ate the sandwich on the beach in Cadiz. It was starchy, sandy, spicy, and utterly perfect. I think I'm going to have to try this recipe!

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about 1 year ago vvvanessa

Mmm...chiles in the tortilla! That sounds delicious!

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about 1 year ago beejay45

I'm probably being nitpicky, but shouldn't the lemon juice go in with the egg yolk at the beginning. It's my understanding that its acid is what makes the raw yolk safe to consume. If it isn't added until the end, the yolk-juice contact is probably not sufficient to do the job.

Aside from that, this sounds really yum. I've put leftover omelets in a pita pocket a time or two, but putting this on a sandwich, esp. with the garlic and tomato rubbed bread, sounds outstanding. Thanks!

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about 1 year ago vvvanessa

I've seen recipes that add in the acid in the beginning and others that add it at the end, but I have not heard about how adding acid in the beginning makes eggs safer to eat. I add it in at the end because that's how I learned from that side of the family, but you could certainly add it in with the yolk. I hope you try the tomato-garlic-bread version because now I'll be trying your pita version!

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about 1 year ago vrunka

Yum! I need an excuse to take a road trip in Spain.

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about 1 year ago vvvanessa

How about so you can eat sandwiches?

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about 1 year ago aimeebama

Yum! Made the tortilla last night and took the sandwiches on a hike this morning. W-O-W. I don't usually use the oven in July, but these were actually worth the hot kitchen. (For the aioli I just mixed lemon juice and a roasted garlic clove into Hellman's mayo. Tasted fine to me.)

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about 1 year ago vvvanessa

I love me some Hellman's! I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe.

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about 1 year ago darksideofthespoon

I want to try this, but we don't own a microwave! Will boiling them or baking them give the same result?

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about 1 year ago vvvanessa

You definitely do not need a microwave for this recipe. You can par-boil the potatoes (I don't because I tend to overcook them that way), or you can just go ahead and cook them the whole time in the skillet-- I'm just too impatient to keep an eye on them for that long, but that is totally the old-school way of preparing them. On the rare occasions that I cook the potatoes without par-cooking them first, I find I need a more oil and a slightly lower heat or I tend to scorch them. I hope you enjoy the sandwiches!

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over 1 year ago gingerroot

I'm with EmilyC. Road trip not needed to enjoy these!

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about 1 year ago vvvanessa

Sandwiches for everyone!

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over 1 year ago EmilyC

Beautiful! I'd gladly eat one of these anytime and anywhere.

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about 1 year ago vvvanessa

Thanks, EmilyC!