Singer-songwriter Tom Waits once said in an interview, “The way you do anything is the way you do everything.”
Admittedly, it looks like the kind of cheesy internet meme you’d find Photoshopped on a cloudblown sky stock photo. But it is actually a useful currency for life. We use it at LÃ©on to remind us that every little detail counts. If you want your restaurants to be spotlessly clean, even that sign that says “Be careful – wet floor” better be so clean that you would happily use it as a clothes horse for your whites.
Personally, it’s also a useful reminder that I’m more likely to be successful in things that lend themselves to the way I work. In cooking, for example, I’m good with big, generous flavors and a lot of time pressure. I will happily prepare a Chinese banquet for 12 people within hours of notice. But give me a recipe that takes patience or dexterity and soon I’ll be a sweaty and choppy chess bunch.
Today’s recipe is the perfect example. I wasn’t cut out for cooking tortillas – or Spanish omelets, as we know them in admiring Brits. I can, and I do quite often, try. It’s a quick and easy supper, great when we are low on ingredients and popular with my kids. But I’m too sloppy to make it the beauty it should be.
Jane’s tortilla recipe, below, is super simple and guarantees delicious results no matter what your culinary temperament. But we’ve added a lot of detail to the recipe for the benefit of perfectionists. If you are the type of cook who likes to take your time and prepare everything that way, cut the onions and potatoes with precision, choose exactly the right pan, cook it and turn it carefully – then your tortilla will be high. something sublime.
The size of the pan is important. In Spain, tortillas are invariably prepared in smaller pans.
It’s hard to make a tortilla that is a nice color on the outside, but not burnt, and just the right texture in the middle, not too runny or overcooked, using a large skillet. It is also difficult to flip a large tortilla without breaking it.
This recipe is for a non-stick frying pan 8 inches in diameter – you can stretch it to 22 cm. If you only have a larger pot, the recipe can be increased (for each additional egg used, increase the potatoes by 100 g). For larger pans, you may find it easier to cook the top under a grill rather than trying to flip the tortilla.
For 2 to 4 people
400g waxy potatoes
50 ml olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 Thinly slice the potatoes about 5mm thick and pat dry with paper towels. The skins can be left if you are using potatoes in a salad. Peel and finely slice the onion. It is worth taking care of thinly slicing the potatoes and onions because with such a simple recipe, details matter. It makes a real difference in the final dish.
2 Heat the oil in the pan over medium heat and add the potatoes. Let the oil bubble gently. Season well. Cover the pan. If you find your potatoes are turning brown, you can use more oil (in Spain they often use stupendous amounts and reuse it after the potatoes are cooked).
3 Cook 10 minutes before incorporating the chopped onion. Cook slowly for another 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
4 Place a sieve or colander over a bowl and pour the potato mixture into it to drain the oil. Let sit for a few minutes while you beat the eggs in a bowl with a fork. Add the drained potatoes and onions to the egg mixture while they are still hot. Season.
At this point, if you have time, let the mixture sit for 10 minutes so that the flavors of the egg and potatoes mingle.
5 Wipe out your pan and add 2 tablespoons of drained oil. Heat until hot enough before pouring into your tortilla mixture. Shake the pot to allow the mixture to evenly distribute and settle. Run a spatula (preferably soft rubber) around the outside of the mixture and cook for one minute. Lower the heat and cook gently for about 6 to 8 minutes until the tortilla begins to set.
6 Pass the spatula around the edges again and shake the pan well. Remove from the heat and slide the cooked side of the tortilla onto a plate. Turn the pan over and place it on the tortilla. Quickly turn the plate so that the tortilla falls back into the pan, cooked side up. Return to the heat and cook gently for another 5 minutes. (If you find the idea of ââflipping the tortilla this way a little intimidating, you can run the pan under a preheated grill for a few minutes until the tortilla sets.)
7 Slide the cooked tortilla onto a serving plate and allow it to cool. Best served lukewarm or at room temperature.
Other possible additions to your egg mixture:
Seasoned spinach cooked, drained and chopped.
Chopped spring onions and herbs such as parsley, chives, basil and tarragon.
Sliced ââserrano ham.
Chopped shrimps and piquillo peppers.
Recipe by Jane Baxter. Henry Dimbleby is co-founder of the Leon natural fast food chain (@henry_leon). Cook your children on cook5.co.uk