Red pepper and potato tortilla – a great lunch!

10 Jul

I think the first time I had a tortilla was in Majorca.  They brought little squares of tortilla to go with our drinks at lunchtime.  I must say I had never thought of eating what is basically a fat omelette, cold, but it was delicious.  I love this recipe because it is so quick and easy, using bottled peppers and either left over new potatoes or even good quality tinned new potatoes.  It makes a great lunch to have with salad and any leftovers can be eaten cold if you get peckish.  Not that we ever have leftovers, it is too good to leave any!  Tortillas are similar to their Italian counterpart, frittatas.  Both are much thicker than an omelette as we know it in the UK , possibly due to the beating of the eggs which contribute to a much thicker, lighter batter.  It is thought that tortillas date back to the mid 1800’s when poor people would have their own hens and grow their own vegetables.  They provided a cheap but nutritious meal for the family.  Today good quality eggs are no longer cheap but, in comparison to the cost of meat, they are still a great option.

There have been numerous health issues related to eggs.  Some say that eating too many eggs will raise cholesterol levels and cause an early death from heart disease.  Others researchers have said this is a load of rubbish and you can eat as many as you like.  I remember Edwina Curry once warned us off eating eggs due to the risk of Salmonella but, many years later we are still eating them and I haven’t heard of a dramatic rise in deaths attributed to this.  All in all I suppose if you eat them in moderation you should not come to any harm.  Knowing how to understand egg labelling may help to reduce the risk.  Here is a brief summary.

Under European legislation eggs must be stamped with their best before date and this should not be more than 21 days after laying.  It is sometimes difficult to see what the stamp on the eggs say but it is usually clearly marked on the egg box.  I always buy them with as near to 21 days left as possible.  If you are unsure, a fresh egg will lie flat in a bowl of water and, as they get older, they will start to turn more upright.  Apart from the date stamp on the egg there is also a code which will give you information about the farming methods for where the egg was laid.  Look at the first letter of the egg stamp for this. 

  • 0 indicates the egg is organic
  • 1 means it is free-range
  • 2 is that it is a barn egg
  • 3 is that the hens are caged

Well, here is the recipe.

Red pepper and potato tortilla                                    Serves 4

  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 250g/8 oz cooked new potatoes, sliced (you can use leftover potatoes or even tinned if you are short of time)
  • 2 red peppers from a jar, drained and cut into strips
  • a handful of chopped parsley
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • salt and black pepper
  • Olive oil
  1. Preheat an oven to 220C/200c fan/gas 7.
  2. Add the peppers and the parsley to the eggs and season and mix well.  Set aside.
  3. Heat a little oil in a non-stick ovenproof deep omelette pan or frying pan.  Gently fry the onion until it is soft but not coloured.  Add the potatoes, mix well, gently squashing down a little.  Cook for 4 minutes, turning occasionally, or until the potatoes are starting to turn golden and are slightly crisp around the edges.  Tip the potato mix into the eggs and stir well.
  4. Add a little more oil to the pan then tip in the egg mixture.  Move it around the pan a little so all the ingredients are evenly distributed.  Cook on the hob for 3-4 minutes then transfer to the oven and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes.
  5. Turn out onto a plate and slice.

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