3, 2,1…Tortilla Española

My feelings for countdowns are very torn. On one hand, I love how the effort of noting the passing of each day seems to make each one stand out. The act of checking another 24 hours off a list ensures you are that much closer to…whatever. In elementary school, we followed the “Alphabet Countdown to the End of School” religiously, all the way from “All things Apple” day to “Zip up your bags and Zoom home for the summer.” But on the other hand, I feel I should be able to enjoy each day naturally–there  shouldn’t be a need for a countdown.

But in times of change, it seems the countdown inevitably creeps in. In exactly one month I’ll complete my last final exam, and in 38 days until I’ll be donning cap and gown. My feelings about this particular countdown are just as torn. Some moments I find myself itching to be homework-free and out in the Real World, but other days I find myself basking in the simple beauty of being a college student and feel I could live this life indefinitely.

So, since I have less than 38 to do so, can I just ignore the countdown for a moment and let the bright rays of collegedom envelop me? Can I revel in the beauty of being surrounded by a group of people I call friends? Can I note the greatness of being given literally dozens of opportunities on a daily basis to join or attend just about anything under the sun? Can I stop for a moment and absorb the awesomeness of living between two lakes, minutes from dozens of quirky shops and restaurants, and just a few blocks from the largest farmers’ market in the country? Can I even take a minute to appreciate the access I’ve had to world-class professors, some of whom forever altered my outlook on the world? I think I shall.

I guess, in the end, I’d much rather take those few minutes out of my day to realize how beautiful an experience is than spend the time wishing it was some day in the distant future. If I want it to be a good day, all I have to do is make it one.

Such simple focus makes me think of the Spanish omelette. (Really.) It has just four ingredients, but unless you are willing to give your full attention to each of those four ingredients, it’s a mighty tricky dish to roll out. If you do stop to focus fully on the omelette, it turns out a true beaut. Seriously, I love this dish. I had a couple Spanish friends while studying in the Netherlands who fed this to me often, and I indulged on this exact slice in its motherland (aka Spain).

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Give this recipe some lovin’, and she’ll love you right back! No impatience or countdowns allowed.

If you’re not a professional at this dish or exhibit high levels of impatience, your Tortilla Española might turn out looking something like my dinner last night. Maybe not as beautiful, but just as delicious, I’d vouch.

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And so, as I move into the unknown, I’ll try to keep my eyes toward the future but my heart in the day at hand. I’ll also keep an appetite…for life and for all things tasty. Always an appetite.

Tortilla Española

Recipe adapted from this one

Ingredients

6-7 medium potatoes, peeled

1 whole yellow onion

5-6 large eggs

2 cups of olive oil for pan frying

Salt to taste

Directions

Cut the peeled potatoes in half lengthwise. Then, with the flat side on the cutting surface, slice the potato in pieces approximately 1/8″ thick. Peel and chop the onion into 1/4″ pieces. Put potatoes and onions into a bowl and mix them together. Salt the mixture.

In a large, heavy, non-stick frying pan, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Carefully place the potato and onion mixture into the frying pan, spreading them evenly over the surface. The oil should almost cover the potatoes. You may need to turn down the heat slightly, so the potatoes do not burn. Leave in pan until the potatoes are cooked. If you can poke a piece of potato with a spatula and it easily breaks in two, your potatoes are done. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon or spatula and allow oil to drain.

Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat by hand with a whisk or fork. Pour in the potato onion mixture. Mix together with a large spoon. Pour 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil into a small, non-stick frying pan (aprox. 9-10”) and heat on medium heat. Be careful not to get the pan too hot because the oil will burn – or the tortilla will! When hot, stir the potato onion mixture once more and “pour” into the pan and spread out evenly. Allow the egg to cook around the edges. Then you can carefully lift up one side of the omelet to check if the egg has slightly “browned.” The inside of the mixture should not be completely cooked and the egg will still be runny.

When the mixture has browned on the bottom, you are ready to turn it over to cook the other side. Take the frying pan to a sink. Place a large dinner plate (12”) upside down over the frying pan. With one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and the omelet will “fall” onto the plate. Place the frying pan back on the range and put just enough oil to cover the bottom and sides of the pan. Let the pan warm for 30 seconds or so. Now slide the omelet into the frying pan. Use the spatula to shape the sides of the omelet. Let the omelet cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the tortilla sit in the pan for 2 minutes.

Slide the omelet onto a plate to serve. If eating as a main course, cut the omelet into 6-8 slices.

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