Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Egg and I

When I was seventeen, I got a job at a French cafe in Nashville. It was run by a wonderful cook and her family and if this seventeen year old could have had any more fun, it would have killed me. I learned a lot that summer. I was in charge of the cold area of the kitchen. The salads. The desserts. And jumping in to help when orders were flying in and out the door. I was also the one who made the omelets. I can’t remember how many eggs we went through a day, but believe me there were a lot. You could have your choice of anything to put in them. Chicken livers were a hot item. Gruyere cheese. Sautéed potatoes and onions. Roasted red peppers. Tomatoes and fresh basil. I got so good at the omelet thing my parents gave a brunch that summer and guess what they served. My omelets. Talk about bringing the job home with you.

Nowadays, the Spanish tortilla is my egg dish of choice. . I like the look of them, I like them in sandwiches, I like them with salads…Arugula, the green of choice at our house, makes a bright foil for the flavors of this recipe.

Catalan Potato and Onion Tortilla.. adapted from a recipe by Perla Meyers

Extra virgin olive oil
2-3 medium sized Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
1 large sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4-5 eggs
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Heat four to five swirls of extra virgin olive oil in a 10 inch skillet over low heat. Cast iron works best. Add the potatoes and onions, season with the salt and pepper and cook covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are tender.

Put the mixture in a strainer placed over a bowl and set aside for 15 minutes. Reserve the potatoes and the strained oil separately.
Beat the eggs in bowl till light and season with salt, pepper and a bit pf cayenne. Whisk till blended. Fold the potato mixture into the eggs and mix well.

Heat the reserved oil in 9-½ inch nonstick skillet over medium to low heat. Pour the mixture into the skillet and cook about 7 minutes or till the bottom is lightly browned and eggs begin to set. Take a plate that covers the top of the skillet and invert eggs onto the plate. Add some olive oil to the skillet. When hot slide eggs back into the skillet. Cook five more minutes or till completely set. Chop a little fresh Italian parsley and sprinkle on the top.
Cut into quarters and serve. Serves 4.

You can serve it at room temperature if you like. It’s great stuffed into a warmed pita with Arugula and chopped tomatoes that have been tossed with a light vinaigrette.


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