Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tortilla de patata

Spain is roughly the same size as North Dakota and South Dakota put together.  For a country that small, it would seem logical that there would be little to no variation between its regions.  Talking to any Spaniard will refute that idea.  Each region of Spain has its own culture, its own traditional foods, and even its own dialect or completely different language.  

Spanish is the official language of Spain but in the Basque region to the north they speak Euskera, in the west they speak Gallego, in the east they speak Catalán, and so on. Of course, almost everyone speaks Spanish, but even that gets tricky.  There are so many regional dialects that it gets a little crazy.  I'll be heading to Andalusia, in the south of Spain, in a few weeks, and all my friends say I won't understand a thing, despite having spent nine months in Spain.

There are a lot of differences between regions here, but there are a couple things that hold them all together:  soccer and the tortilla de patata (potato omelette or Spanish omelette).

Soccer is popular on an international level--I think the United States is one of the only countries where it's not wildly successful. Almost all Spaniards love soccer.  The two richest soccer clubs (teams) in Spain are the Real Madrid and FC Barcelona teams.  They play against each other twice a year in the "Classic" and it's a big deal. Since I'm not into soccer I can't tell you much else.

I can tell you more about the tortilla de patata, however.  It looks like this:


The most basic tortilla de patata is made of eggs, potatoes and onions.  The potatoes are cut into small pieces and fried in olive oil until soft.  The excess oil is drained off and the potatoes are mixed with beaten eggs (usually it's an almost equal egg to potato ratio) and chopped, fried onions.  Once the ingredients are mixed together they are cooked in a smallish (I think) frying pan on medium heat.  The trickiest part is flipping the omelette over halfway through the cooking process.  Once cooked it can be served immediately or eaten cold.

Tortilla de patata is eaten all over Spain.  I don't even think there are regional variations.  Most people eat their plain, but I eat mine with ketchup.  I think Antonio and María secretly think I'm ruining the tortilla de patata, but they don't say anything.

My version of the tortilla de patata :)

One of my goals before I leave is to learn to make this delicious staple of Spanish life.

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