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
Test Kitchen Notes
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
Bocadillo El Camino
pounds non-waxy potatoes, like Russet or Yukon Gold
virgin or extra virgin olive oil, preferably Spanish
small white onion, thinly sliced
heavy cream (optional)
sweet baguette (the slightly wider rustic-style is great)
1 to 2
fresh, ripe tomatoes
Allioli, optional, recipe below
fresh egg yolk at room temperature
medium clove garlic, peeled
light, virgin olive oil, or a 50-50 mix of extra-virgin olive oil and a neutral oil like canola or sunflower
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
To prepare the sandwiches, slice the baguette into four equal lengths, then slice those pieces lenghtwise.
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!
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.
Finally, add in the salt and lemon juice and blend just to combine. Store covered in the refrigerator until ready to use.