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Patata Erraza

Passport & Plate - Tortilla de Patatas

Spain | Friday, 6 March 2015 | 1 photos

-10 small potatoes
-1 medium-sized yellow onion
-4 eggs
-extra virgin olive oil (1-2 cups)


How to prepare this recipe
1. Heat enough olive oil to cover the entire bottom of the skillet.
2. Peel and wash the potatoes, then cut into cubes (or triangles if you have a shape preference!)
3. Chop onion into thin slices.
4. Mix the potatoes and onion together with the oil, frying over high heat for 1 minute then on low heat. Stir occasionally. Add salt.
5. Once fried, remove mixture from skillet into a large bowl while draining the oil, leaving 1 tbsp to be reused in skillet.
6. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and pour over the potatoes and onion mixture.
7. Pour onto skillet, cooking one side for 2-4 minutes on medium heat then on low once the egg has cooked.
8. Use a plate bigger than the skillet to cover the skillet, flip omelet onto it, return the uncooked side to skillet for 2-4 minutes.
9. Flip back onto plate after cooking and let it cool.


The story behind this recipe
Rain bounced off the roof of the bus in a mesmerizing rhythm as we arrived at our stop: Bilbao, the largest municipality of the Basque Country in Spain. As I looked into the hazy distance at the Guggenheim Museum, my stomach grumbled, protesting my careless decision of not packing a lunch for the trip. Supermarkets were closed on Sundays and it was precisely my luck to be arriving on a Sunday. I walked past many closed stores but determination led me to stumble upon a tiny bar filled with people and in front of them, plates of 'pintxos,' the Basque version of small appetizers. Most of the food was gone, taken away to be paired with glasses of wine. The only plates with any leftovers were the tortillas de patatas. That first bite turned into an entire omelet. My ability to devour may have been partly due to hunger, but mostly due to the quaint yet comfortable environment that paved the way for the first of many Basque friendships to come. I stayed in that bar for the next four hours mingling with different people, completely forgetting my hunger and exhaustion from the day's travels. After this, I traveled throughout Europe for half a year, perfecting the recipe to recreate it for new people I met. Whether it was for the other English teachers I worked with at a French school or the bikers in Amsterdam who were kind enough to host me when my accommodation plans failed, tortilla de patatas was my substitution for a greeting and expression of gratitude. It is the physical complementation of my appreciation for humanity's kindness. Although I have returned home, there are days when I share this cherished dish with anyone—my family, friends, mailman. When the smell of potatoes and onions fill up a room, I return to a bar filled with strangers’ laughter and uncanny dialects, conversations about 'fútbol' games and local businesses. Tortilla de patatas is more than just a dish. It is memory of a bygone time, of a feeling of belonging in an unfamiliar yet familiar world.

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