08.14.13: dinner (omelette aux fines herbes as a tortilla, part I)

Tortilla de patatas y finas hierbas/truita a patates amb les fines herbes

Tortilla de patatas y finas hierbas/truita a patates amb les fines herbes

I had high hopes for this tortilla, and while it was delicious and did a pretty good job of matching the idea of the final product that was in my head, there’s also much room for improvement. But that’s how cooking goes some days. The key is, of course, is to crack a few more eggs and try it again.

My initial vision was to make a Spanish-style tribute to one of the best omelettes I’ve ever had: the omelette aux fines herbes at Pastis.* It’s enormous and fluffy and comes with a side of frites, and paired with a good French 75 it’s my platonic ideal of brunch these days. While the dish as-is would be a wonderful dinner, I’m not one for making frites at home, much less on a weekday. Here’s where the Spanish inspiration came in: crumble in some high-quality potato chips (in our case, the house-made chips from Fairway) along with the herbs into the eggs, and cook it all as a tortilla, served with a big salad.

Pastis's omelette aux fines herbes with French Fries

Pastis’s omelette aux fines herbes with French Fries

Because really: if really tasty potato chips are good enough for both Feran Adrià and José Andrés to make the tortilla process a little faster, then they are good for all of us. While the resultant tortilla was tasty, it wasn’t perfectly cooked: the middle was a little runny while the exterior was just a touch too done. This didn’t bother me personally as I like runny eggs, but I’d really like to master the balance of exterior to interior doneness and make a tortilla that is as pretty as it is tasty one of these days. I’ve read that smaller pans are best, so I’ve placed a smaller nonstick on my birthday wishlist and hopefully in a few weeks I’ll be able to report on my success or lack thereof.

So let’s call this the “before” photo, and the “after” will come when I have less pan to work with and the same number of eggs. Pending that experiment, a recipe will soon follow.

Stay tuned!

*I wasn’t into eggs, much less an omelette, until a few years ago and therefore I have a very limited data set for reference. Feel free to instruct me on where to find better omelettes in the comments.

  1. Thanks for reminding me I have a half-finished post on omelets… Anyway, you may want to consider a small cast iron pan. I’ve had mine for close to 25 yrs (showing age here) and it’s indestructable. It’s also great for other things beyond eggs, which I haven’t been able to say the same about non-sticks.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. I never think to cook eggs in cast iron because I have these visions of them sticking to everything, but given that they aren’t that expensive it’s certainly worth a try.

      • That’s the other thing – you can get one from Lodge at a campin store for cheaper than a so-so nonstick! It’ll take some seasoning, but I’ve never bought a nonstick since.

  2. biz319 said:

    Yep, I cook my omelets in a small pan (6 inches maybe?) and then once I lay down the ingredients (this morning – baby spinach, seasoned black beans and cheddar cheese) I pour the egg whites and beaten egg over all of that, making sure to get it evenly covered, then high heat for the first minute or so, then bring the heat to low, cover with a lid (I use a clear lid so I can see what’s going on) so that it cooks from the top and the bottom at the same time.

    I don’t actually “flip” it into an omelet shape until its nearly cooked all the way through. Hope you get one for your birthday!

  3. Oh Pastis brunch…

    How I love you!

    I’ve been gone from NYC long enough that I had almost forgotten how irreplaceable that place is. Thanks to this post my craving is back with a vengeance! Looks like I’ll be practicing my omelet skills this weekend.

  4. shannon said:

    i promise to stay tuned! I love your thoughts and what you did with your first attempt, and i’m looking forward to watching what you do with this. I haven’t made a proper brunch in forever…call it lazy or call it busy, but i need to do it one of these days. 🙂

  5. A tortilla trick I learned while in-country: cook the potatoes a little beforehand, in the oven or a pan on low heat (soak them in water first then cut, obviously). Once the potatoes are semi-cooked, you can control the egg ratio and egg cooking time much better.

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