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Spanish Tortilla

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In Cooking from Every Angle, we hear from our fearless leaders: Food52 co-founders Amanda & Merrill.

Today: Amanda shows us to whip up a pared-down version of Spain's potato omelet.

Spanish Tortilla

I don't know when we Americans got it into our heads that omelets had to be served hot from a pan. We eat hard-boiled eggs at room temperature, so why shouldn't we be able to eat an omelet in the same way? The Italians do it with their frittatas, which are sometimes served warm, but are often cooked ahead of time, and sliced and served later in the day. And not enough love has been given to Spanish tortilla, which is like frittata's heftier cousin, a layering of potatoes and onions swaddled in eggs. Tortilla is served at lunch, as a tapas, and is rarely eaten warm.

With a recipe that contains little more than eggs, potatoes, and onions, you will find many different techniques applied to the preparation of each ingredient. Some call for shallow frying the potatoes in oil and using the oil to cook the tortilla. Some call for cooking the tortilla on the stovetop and flipping it several times while cooking, in order to firm it up and round the edges. I've done this and it produces a great tortilla but not everyone has two pans the same size or, understandably, the will to invert a steaming hot panful of eggs into another hot pan.

For the version I'm sharing here -- which could be called Spanish-ish tortilla -- I took a nod from Italy and cooked the tortilla like a fritatta (I also sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on top -- sorry, Spain!). You can eat it hot, if you like, but it also makes for a great lunch or snack once it's cool. Now, let's get to making it:

Spanish Tortilla ingredients

Gather your ingredients: eggs, yellow onion, white potatoes, grated parmesan, butter, and olive oil. Next cook the onions in oil and simmer the potatoes in water.

Spanish Tortilla set-up

Admire your prepped ingredients, whisk in hand.

Whisking the eggs

Whisk the eggs with a large pinch of salt until smooth but not super frothy.

Pouring the egg into the potatoes and onions

After sauteeing the onions in oil, combine them with the cooked and sliced potatoes, and pour in the egg.

Gently mixing the egg and potatoes

Gently fold together the eggs, potatoes, and onions. There should be just enough egg to pool around the potatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil and butter into either a seasoned cast iron skillet or a non-stick pan and pour in the egg mixture, gently nudging and flattening the potatoes. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake in a hot (400 F) oven until crisp and brown on the edges, about 20 minutes.

The tortilla just out of the oven

Remove this beauty from the oven and let cool until it's just warm, then loosen the edges with a thin spatula and invert the tortilla onto a serving dish. Now, either let it cool completely and cut into wedges, or cut it into wedges and serve while still warm.

A slice of tortilla

Spanish Tortilla

Serves 6

2 pounds white potatoes, peeled
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
3 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
8 eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by James Ransom

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Tags: Tortilla, Breakfast, Lunch, Back to School, Amanda & Merrill, Editors' Picks