Spanish(?) Omelette

With my new eating habits (no sugar, no grains, limited dairy), I am definitely eating lots more veggies, fruits, and lean proteins. One of the proteins that I have re-discovered is the “incredible, edible egg!” 

Eggs have had a real up and down journey in the food world… one day they’re notoriously bad for you and the next they’re reputed to be a superfood. No matter which side of the fence you stand on, you must admit that eggs are economical, convenient, versatile, easy to prepare, and pretty tasty too.

Personally I’ve always been a fan — especially for breakfast (I’ve never been a sweets for breakfast kind of guy). As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, my mom made a few egg dishes around the holidays, and my go to diner breakfast will always be a spinach and feta cheese omelette (cooked well done with crispy home fries, no toast and Red Hot on the side).

Speaking of omelettes, that brings us to today’s post… at Lista’s Italian Cuisine the menu wasn’t exclusively Italian-American fare — there were also several items that were common in most family restaurants of the day. One such item was the so-called Spanish Omelette. At Lista’s the Spanish Omelette wasn’t a breakfast item; it was featured on the dinner menu (oddly under the sub-heading of MEATS). The dish consisted of a 3-egg omelette blended with Romano cheese and seasonings then filled with stewed peppers, onions, and tomatoes and served with a side of fried potatoes (or a side of spaghetti if desired). Frankly, it was a very tasty dish — if not a bit mundane for having such an “international” moniker. 

It wasn’t until many years after Lista’s closed its doors that I learned a true Spanish Omelette (Tortilla Española) was a very different dish altogether. Authentically a Spanish Omelette is made with thinly sliced potatoes (and often sliced onion) seasoned with salt, cooked in olive oil, and then blended with beaten eggs and finished slowly in the pan (or oven) until fully cooked and nicely browned on both sides. Tortilla Española is often served cold or room temperature, cut into small wedges or squares, and eaten as a finger food, appetizer or tapa.

Either one of these Spanish Omelettes would satisfy my current healthier diet with no sugar or grains and only a hint of sheep milk Romano cheese in the one. In our house, omelettes can be a nice change from the usual rotation of chicken/fish/turkey/beef… and as mentioned above, an economical alternative for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. So I am giving you the original Lista’s Spanish Omelette and my recipe for a more traditional Tortilla Española — you decide which one works for you.


Lista’s Spanish Omelette

Prep time:  15 minutes
Cook time:  15 minutes
Makes:  1 meal size omelette

1/2 Green Bell Pepper – sliced
1/2 Red Bell Pepper – sliced
1/2 Medium Onion – sliced
1 Medium Tomato – seeded and chopped (or 1/4 cup Tomato Sauce)
2 TBSP Olive Oil – divided
3 Large Eggs – beaten
2 TBSP Grated Romano Cheese
Pinch of Garlic powder
Pinch of Paprika
Salt & Pepper – to taste

1. In a medium saute pan or skillet cook the peppers, onions, and tomato in 1 tbsp oil until peppers are tender about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, cover to keep warm.
2. Whisk the eggs, Romano cheese, salt, pepper, garlic and paprika in a small bowl until frothy.
3. Heat a second medium skillet or omelette pan over med-high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, swirl to coat entire pan and pour in the egg mixture. Tilt pan in all directions to allow eggs to cover entire bottom of pan. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes until bottom starts to set – then using a rubber spatula pull the edges toward the middle allowing liquid egg to flow back into the empty space. Lower heat to med-low and allow to cook until almost set, about 5 minutes.
4. Spoon 3/4 of the prepared peppers and onions onto one half of omelette, carefully fold other half over the filling and allow to cook another 1 minute. Carefully turn the omelette over and finish cooking another 1-2 minutes until cooked through.
5. Slide the omelette onto a plate and top with remaining 1/4 peppers and onions and a sprinkle of Romano cheese if desired. Serve as is or with a side dish.


Traditional Spanish Omelette (Tortilla Española)

Prep time:  15 minutes + cooling time
Cook time:  20 minutes
Makes:  1 meal size omelette or 3-4 appetizer servings

4-6 Small Potatoes – cooked, cooled and sliced
1/2 Medium Onion – sliced
2 TBSP Olive Oil – divided
3 Large Eggs – beaten
1 TBSP Water
Salt & Pepper – to taste

1. In a medium sauce pan boil potatoes in enough water to cover until fork tender about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and allow to cool enough to handle. Slice into 1/2 inch rounds.
2. Heat a heavy 8 inch skillet (cast iron can be used) over med-high heat. Add 1 tbsp olive oil and swirl to coat pan. Add sliced potatoes and onions to hot pan and press down with a spatula. Allow to cook undisturbed until potatoes are starting to brown and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir onions and potatoes gently and spread out to cover bottom of pan. Cook another 1-2 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper.
Whisk the eggs with 1 tbsp water in a small bowl until frothy. Pour over potatoes and onions – tilting pan to allow eggs to flow into all the spaces and cover the potatoes completely.
4. Reduce heat to med-low, cover pan and allow to cook until set and slightly brown – about 5 minutes.
5. Gently loosen the omelette from the pan using a rubber spatula. Slide omelette onto a plate and then slide back into the pan with the potatoes facing up. Continue to cook until fully cooked through and slightly brown on bottom. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Remove from heat and serve hot, room temperature, or cold – as a light entree with a salad – or cut into wedges as an appetizer.

There you have it, two great egg-based dishes that can be enjoyed any time of day. Whether feeling nostalgic for the original Lista’s Restaurant version… or trying the tried and true traditional version (there’s a nice bit of alliteration for you) — you can’t go wrong with a Spanish Omelette. 

Thanks again for reading my blog — your “likes” and comments are always appreciated.

Until next time remember, “The Sauce Makes the Difference!”