#thebusymumdiet: Tortilla in Ten

Image above: keepinitkind.com

I love tortilla, because it’s versatile, nourishing and quick to make … and not particularly spectacular, so why am I writing this? Because I like to make it more quickly than most. I’m one of those people who love to cook, but not every day, mainly for dinner parties, rather than small family dinners, and as fuss-free and time-intensive as possible. I think you’ve guessed that Jamie’s 15-minute meals are among of my favourite cookery programmes …

Yes, my favourite chef is Yotam Ottolenghi – the master of baroque elaboration and intricate, mind-boggling salads – but everyday cooking (unless you do it for a living) just doesn’t allow for spending hours in the kitchen. Chopping vegetables is a known stress-reliever but not for me, I’m afraid. Which is why I like to make home-cooking an exciting but easy affair that I can fit into otherwise busy days. A bone of contention between myself and my mum, my mother-in-law and friends who like to languish in the kitchen forever… But, seriously, who has that kind of time?! Here is my go-to fritatta-plus-potatoes method when you have – literally – 10 minutes (not including the baking) to dedicate to it.

I make the tortilla in the oven, in a Pyrex or oven dish, not in a pan, on the stove. That saves a lot of steps and most of the smell. I also use a square or rectangular dish because you can get a lot more shapes out of your omelette.

⦁ olive oil
⦁ 4 medium-size diced/grated/sliced potatoes (skins on: they have all the vitamins, and life is too short)
⦁ 200g diced vegetables like: zucchini, bell or pointy peppers (can be roasted), red or spring onion, tomatoes or spinach leaves
⦁ bacon (optional)
⦁ favourite salty seasoning
⦁ pepper (optional, if you make this for younger children)
⦁ 4-6 eggs
Add more of your favourite ingredients and condiments, but this being a kid-friendly recipe, less is more.

1. Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan.
2. Prep the potatoes. Prepping is the most important thing about the fast-forward tortilla; and prepping the potatoes essential. I like to use my hand-grater or food-processor to grate/shred/dice the potatoes. Or use a mandoline to cut them into thin slices; it’s even quicker. Do this first, instead of parboiling them whole and then slicing them.
3. Blanch potatoes in hot water so that they soften quickly. No need to bring them to a boil, as they will soften in no time at all. If you want to skip the saucepan step, grate the potatoes directly into a Pyrex oven dish, pour hot water over them, leave for one minute in the pre-heated oven. Drop the potato mush into a colander, and pour oil into the Pyrex – this will be dry within seconds of discarding the potatoes so no need to wipe dry. If you want to dice the potatoes and bake them in a little oil first, that’s another easy option, but it takes longer and is less healthy.
4. Chop/Dice the veggies (and the bacon) using the food processor or device of choice.
5. Whisk the eggs.
6. Add seasoning.
7. Add milk/buttermilk and … sour cream. Milk/double cream is the usual favourite, but add sour cream and you get the fluffiness and the higher taste. Also, don’t season the veggies – if you only season the eggs, the veggies will be on the sweeter side, so you will have a nice, subtle contrast of flavours.
8. Add ready-grated cheese. Or not, if you like to keep it light.
9. Mix the potatoes, cheese and veggies in the oven dish.
Stick into the oven and put your feet up. Come back in 10-15 minutes.

legs-762565_1280Tortilla, like fritatta, likes it slow and steady, so don’t rush the baking side of things. You’ll end up with a nice golden, crispy outside but a mushy, eggy inside. Bake it at 180°C for most of the time and then activate the grill for the last 5 minutes. Regularly check firmness with a fork. 

To plate up, flip some wedges or squares onto plates, add some side salad (warm kale in winter, or spinach and lemon balm in summer) and a nice tapenade or olives, and finish off with a nice crema catalana.

So this one is for overwhelmed mummies, busy daddies, sensible grannies, the exhausted professional and all the au-pairs who like to get the cooking and tidying out of the way as soon as possible so they can go out! Let me know what you think!

Dinner party this weekend? Read this high-speed make-ahead dinner menu

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