There are a million recipes out there for tortilla and frittata that say something like “saute vegetables, add eggs, cook until golden” but they all leave out crucial instructions, the secret sauce that turns your eggy creation into a golden disc of beauty and cohesion. If you’re tired of eggy mess stuck to your pan and sullen faces round the dinner table, try these tried and tested tips.
Step one: choose your pan. If you want curved edges as in the photo to the right you’ll need a pan that’s small enough to invert over a plate. Otherwise, choose a pan that can go into your oven or under a grill.
Step two: assemble your ingredients. Go for a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas or use what you have at hand to make a delicious frittata. There a plenty of recipes online. Remember to fossick around in your garden for some fresh herbs.
Step three: Break 10 – 16 eggs into a large bowl (however many you need for your pan). Season them with salt and pepper and beat them lightly with a whisk.
Step four: heat olive oil in your pan and sauté plenty of crushed garlic and vegetables until they are just shy of being done. If you’re using potatoes or root vegetables, you can boil them first but make sure everything gets hot and garlicky.
Step five: tip the hot vegetables into the egg mixture and give it a stir. This step, so often missed in recipes, lightly cooks the eggs and causes them to stick to the vegetables. Very important!!
Step six: wipe out your pan. Add more olive oil, around 3 tbsp, and heat it until it shimmers and begins to smoke. This is also important – this step will seal the bottom of your tortilla/frittata and stop it sticking to the pan. It’s the Yorkshire pudding secret.
Step seven: tip the egg mixture into the pan and give it a little shake to distribute the contents evenly. Turn the heat to low and leave the pan alone for at least 10 minutes. If you can’t stop yourself interfering, restrict your interventions to pulling the edges gently away from the side of the pan with a spatula.
Step eight: your tortilla/frittata should be smelling great and looking almost set. At this stage, you can move the pan to the oven to cook through, set it under a grill to brown the top or, if feeling brave, put a plate upside down over the pan and invert the tortilla onto the plate. Wipe out the pan, add a splash of oil and gently slide the tortilla back into the pan to finish cooking.
Serve with bread and salad. Keep some for breakfast, and take some for lunch. In fact, keep it all for yourself. Because you did all the work.