Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dad's Spanish Omelette

Sunday breakfasts cooked by Dad were really special. While he was in Iran, he learnt to make a mean Spanish omelet from the Swedish engineers he worked with there. The last time he made this for me was on my birthday 4 years back and he hadn’t lost his touch. It was simply delicious – thick wedges layered with potatoes, stuffed with slowly browned onions and capsicums, topped with cheese. Hmmm… reminds me, I should ask him to make it again the next time he visits.

When I grew up and started reading more about food, I found that in Spain this is called a “tortilla” and is widely served as a snack or a light meal in Spain – especially in Tapas bars. Quite a different concept from the breakfast dish I had always known it as. In Britain it is called Spanish omelet, while in Italy there is a version which is called “Frittata”. They are all flat open faced omelets with a large variation in the fillings and while the bottom is cooked on the stove top, the top is finished in the oven. Read more here.

I made this recently on a Sunday morning (for some reason I can’t wrap my head around making this on any other day! I guess the tradition continues...) Along with the potatoes I also tossed in some sliced sausages and topped it with feta cheese, dried herbs and fresh coriander. The combinations for a frittata are endless - feel free to experiment with bell peppers, mushrooms and any other ingredient you fancy.

Frittata cooking on the stove top

Go easy on the salt if you are using feta cheese since it is naturally salty. Even my daughter gets to share this lovely breakfast because I sprinkle the crushed pepper and some chilli flakes only on 3/4th of the frittata leaving one wedge for her to enjoy.

Frittatas usually use anywhere between 6 to 10 eggs - thats how you get those thick wedges which you can cut. Which is why I usually make these when we have friends staying over with us....makes for a nice brunch of sorts without too much time spent in the kitchen. This time, since it was just the three of us (2.5 actually!), I used 3 eggs. I don't have a smaller non stick pan so I used the normal one which is why it is much thinner than usual.

When making the frittata with 6 eggs or more, I use a round oven proof tin - first on the stovetop and then later in the oven to set the top. This time I put the non stick pan inside the oven - not a good idea at all.
a. Non stick pans are as such a bad idea because of the teflon coating (am trying to find some good cast iron frying pans I can season and use) and one inside the oven isn't a good idea either.
b. I kept in there for about 3-4 minutes, but it might melt the plastic handle of the frying pan.

So, what I'm going to do in future (and would suggest the same for anyone trying this) is to use an oven proof pan which I can also use on the stove top. Think pie pans, roasting tins....

I am sending this recipe on to Family Recipes - the event which brings memories of family, food and fun - the brainchild of Shelby and Laura.

Dad’s Spanish Omelet


Eggs - 6

Milk - 1 tbsp

salt and pepper to taste

Potatoes - 2, sliced thin and cooked in water for about 8 minutes, till almost done

Mushrooms/sausages/bell peppers - 1/2 cup sliced thin

Red chilli flakes/paprika powder - 1 tsp

Fresh coriander & mint - 1/4 cup chopped

Dried herbs (optional) - 1/4 tsp

Feta cheese - 100 gm

Oil - 1 tbsp


1. Heat oil in an oven proof tin and arrange the parboiled potato slices at the bottom of the tin and cook each side till golden, about 5 minutes.

2. While that is cooking, beat the eggs and the milk along with the salt and pepper. When the potatoes are almost done, add the mushrooms/sausages/bell peppers to the pan and cook on low for about 5 minutes till they wilt.

3. Pour in the egg mixture and wait till it spread evenly. Sprinkle the fresh herbs, dried herbs, red chilli flakes and feta cheese. Pre heat the oven to 180C

4. After about 2-3 minutes, the egg would have set and the bottom would be almost cooked; Put the tin into the oven (or under the grill) and bake for about 5 minutes till the top is cooked and golden. The cheese will also have melted. Serve warm, cut into wedges along with a hunk of bread on the side.


Raaga said...

wow... an omelette with all toppings.

Raaga said...

oops... and you were just on my blog!

Miri said...

:) we must really make the effort to meet!! sigh...

Jaya Wagle said...

That sounds delicious. I ate my first Fritata in the US seven years ago but have never made it at home. Should try making one now that I have the recipe. :)

Mallugirl said...

nonstick in the oven..ROFL.
like the idea of ur sunday b'fast..can i come over?

Vaishali said...

What a lovely memory to cook from...I too have some delicious memories of the food my dad would make. He was really good around the kitchen and when I cook some of the dishes I learned from him, I get really nostalgic.

Bong Mom said...

I finish off a frittata without putting in the oven, same reason as yours

Also I use less eggs(one each for us) and more milk, is not as thick it should be but with loads of veggies turns out fine

Sig said...

Looks great! I use oven-proof non-stick pans for all my cheesy omelettes as I can cook one side on the stove and then shove it under the broiler to melt that cheese! Calphalon makes some great oven-proof non-stick pans and I make most of my baked-meat and fish dishes in those too.

HoneyB said...

Looks great Miri! Thank you for submitting this to our event! :-)

Laura said...

Great story! Great entry! I love this! Thanks so much for participating in our event.

PonyFla said...

You know you can cook these exclusively in the oven? Just mix up all the ingredients and put them into a greased baking dish. I never bother with the stovetop. I have a nice gratin dish that I use when I need a big one (10 eggs). If I want a smaller one, I have an 8" square pyrex baking dish. Both work very well and you get a nice golden brown top along with a crusty bottom.