The story goes that the omelette originated in Persia. There it is called Kookoo Sabzi and is made with walnuts, turmeric, barberries and several herbs, which can be varied according to your taste. The dish then came to different parts of Europe. As is the way, each culture tweeked the original recipe a little. In Italy it is known as the Fritata, in France it is known as an omelette, of which the recipe is extremely simple. However, when aspiring cooks are being tested, they are often asked to make an omelette. There is definitely an art to master. The Spanish version is Tortilla de Patatas which is more substantial and can be enjoyed hot or cold.
There are several myths as to how the Spanish omelette became so popular in Spain. It was probably put together by General Tomàs de Zumalacárragui during the Siege of Bilbao. That is an acceptable notion for it was a simple and nutritious meal ideal for filling up hungry soldiers.
In the video you can go on a virtual tortilla crawl through Madrid to find the best tortilla.
The recipe was given to me by my childhood friend, Paloma. She has one sister and two brothers and was partialy brought up in Spain by her nan, abuela Victoria, whom I had the pleasure of knowing. She was strict but loving and could be quite funny. I spoke next to no Spanish at the time. Paloma’s parents worked in a very successful gastro pub called The George and Dragon. Hence they were never at home for Sunday lunch. At this time we didn´t have a Sunday lunch tradition in our house either. My stepfather worked seven days a week, and my mum was often on a diet if not officially entertaining. Usually Paloma’s mum would prep a dish which Paloma and her sister Gema would finish off. I often had the pleasure of being there and enjoying these dishes as well.
This could have been Cocido Madrileno, a casserole with chick peas, potaoes, different cuts of meat, ham and chorizo. It might have been Ensalda Rusa a potato salad with tuna, beans and soft boiled eggs or it might have been a Tortilla de Patatas – Spanish omelette, which today is the favourite dish of Paloma’s children. I remember sometimes eating pieces of it cold – a delicious snack. I am so glad she has given me her recipe which takes me back to those Sundays. We lived near the beach and funfair. Quite often when her parents did come home we would go to the fun fair in the afternoon with our pocket money.
What’s your favourite omelette?
Recipe from my friend Paloma
Mell, A. M. (2017, 15. Februar). Spanish Tortilla – History and Recipe. andaspain.com. https://andaspain.com/blog/recipe-spanish-tortilla/
Rizzotti, E. R. (2019, 14. August). All about the Spanish Omelette. /www.barcelonacheckin.com. https://www.barcelonacheckin.com/en/r/barcelona_tourism_guide/articles/spanish-omelette