My nephew, Nicholas, married a delightful woman named Patri, who was raised in the Canary Islands. With her she brought this wonderful recipe from her mother, and I feel quite privileged that she took the time to show me how to make it, step by step.
The olive oil is essential for transforming the potatoes into soft creamy wedges as they gently simmer. The finished “omelet” can be served in big wedges to satisfy hearty appetites, or cut into bite-sized squares for an easy appetizer. They present beautifully with a little bouquet of cocktail toothpicks.
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
|14 ounces peeled, sliced Russet or King Edward potatoes (about 17 ounces unprepared)||Scrub under running water; cut out damaged areas. Peel with a potato peeler; cut into fourths lengthwise. Wedge cut (1/4-inch on the thick side), adding to a 3-quart bowl filled with cold tap water. Gently swish to rinse; strain thoroughly in a wire mesh strainer set back over the bowl.||King Edward and Russet become quite tender with cooking. Rinsing discourages discoloration and washes away excess starch. Excess water will cause spattering in the next step.|
|1 cup olive oil||Meanwhile, add to a heavy 10-inch ceramic non-stick skillet (select one with a glass lid) along with one piece of strained potato. Warm over medium heat until the potato vigorously and audibly bubbles (240°F), 4-5 minutes. Add strained potatoes and turn gently to thoroughly coat in oil.||Non-stick is essential for this recipe. Regular (inexpensive) olive oil is used here because the subtle flavors of extra-virgin olive oil are lost upon heating. Approximately half the oil will be absorbed by potatoes.|
|1 teaspoon fine sea salt||Distribute over potatoes and cover. After 9-10 minutes uncover to gently turn potatoes with a flexible silicone spatula Continue until potatoes are golden and easily break apart when pressed (20-25 minutes). Strain in the mesh strainer set back over the 3-quart bowl.||Turning promotes even cooking and releases bits of potato that might be sticking to the pan.|
|4 large eggs||Meanwhile, in a 5-quart bowl whisk until loose and frothy; add potatoes. With the spatula, toss to coat. Rest 5 minutes, turning 2-3 times, to help potatoes soak up eggs. With the edge of spatula, break potatoes into dime-sized pieces.||Adding hot potatoes to the eggs tempers the eggs, warming the entire mixture.|
|1 tablespoon butter||With a paper towel, wipe inside of skillet to remove any bits of potato sticking to the pan. Melt butter over medium-low heat just until it foams (30-60 seconds); rotate pan to evenly coat base and sides. Gently pour potato mixture into pan; spread evenly. Promptly use the spatula to tidy the edge, working your way around the omelet. Continue until top appears mostly set, omelet moves easily, and bottom shows some golden areas, 4-5 minutes.||A clean pan is essential for allowing the omelet to move easily. Butter is superior to oil for creating a nonstick surface.|
|Hold lid by its handle, inverted, in one hand. Hold skillet by its handle in the other. Move over to the sink; slide omelet from skillet onto the lid. Invert pan over lid. Holding lid and pan firmly together, flip so that the pair is right side up.||The sink will catch any escaping butter or egg, simplifying clean up. The lid is easier to handle than trying to invert the omelet with a plate.|
|Return to medium-low heat; continue shaping edges until bottom shows golden areas, 4-5 minutes. Slide onto a cutting board to cut into wedges or squares.|