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Spanish Potato Tortilla
Tortilla de Patatas
by: Janet Mendel

Here is the classic all-time favorite Spanish egg dish, tortilla de patatas. A Spanish tortilla is in now way even remotely related to the Mexican flat corn or flour wrapper-except that both are round. In Spain, a tortilla is a round cake of eggs and other ingredients, a sort of omelet. But neither is a tortilla the same thing as a frittata. For one thing, it's never baked. And, to make a tortilla properly, you need a lot of olive oil to slowly, slowly poach the potatoes.

You will find tortilla served in chunks at just about every Madrid tapa bar, the perfect accompaniment to a glass of wine, but it's also good for breakfast, lunch, supper, or a picnic.

Use a well-seasoned omelet pan or lightweight nonstick skillet for the tortilla. A cast-iron pan will be too heavy for turning the tortilla.

Cook the potatoes in lots of olive oil and drain it off. Return only a spoonful of oil to the skillet to cook the tortilla and save the remainder for another use.

Serves 4 for lunch, 20 as a tapa

1/2-cup olive oil
2 pounds baking potatoes (about 4 medium), peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
1-teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chopped onion
6 eggs

heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes and turn them in the oil to coat them thoroughly. Reduce the heat to a medium-low and cook the potatoes very slowly, stirring frequently, without browning, for 10 minutes. Sprinkle them with 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.

Add the onion and continue cooking, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are fort-tender, 20 minutes more.

Beat the eggs in a large bowl with the remaining 1/2-teaspoon salt.

When the potatoes are tender, place a plate over the skillet and tip the pan to drain excess oil into a small heatproof bowl.

Stir the potatoes into the beaten eggs.

Return a little of the reserved oil to the skillet and pour in the potato-egg mixture. Cook over medium heat until the omelet is set, about 5 minutes, adjusting the heat so the tortilla does not brown. Shake the skillet to keep the tortilla from sticking.

Place a flat lid or plate on top of the skillet. Hold it tightly and tip to drain out any excess oil into the heatproof bowl. Then invert the tortilla onto the plate.

Add a little reserved oil to the pan and slide the tortilla back in to cook on the other side, about 3 minutes more. Slide it out onto a serving dish and serve hot or at room temperature. For tapa servings, cut the tortilla into 2-inch squares, making 20 pieces. For lunch servings, cut it into wedges, serving 4.

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