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José Andrés grew up in the Asturias region of northern Spain and was a protégé of Ferran Adria of the renowned El Bulli restaurant near Barcelona. In 2003, José was named Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic by the James Beard Foundation and in 2004 was named Chef of the Year by Bon Appétit. José and his ThinkFoodGroup run seven destination restaurants in and around Washington, D.C., including the Spanish tapas bar Jaleo and the highly acclaimed minibar by José Andrés. His first cookbook, Tapas: A Taste of Spain in America, was published in 2005. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and three daughters.
Tortilla de Patatas (Potato Omelet)
I have read a great deal about the Galician restaurant El Manjar over the years, but I never got the chance to eat there until recently. I was amazed at how they make their tortilla with a few simple ingredients: eggs, potatoes, olive oil, and salt. It might look easy to cook an omelet, but it takes a lot of practice to cook omelets as well as they do at El Manjar. This recipe is inspired by theirs—and it’s well worth the effort to master.
• 3 cups plus 2 tablespoons Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 pound russet potatoes, peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced
• 6 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
Heat 3 cups of the olive oil in a medium pot over medium-low heat until it measures 250°F on a candy thermometer. Fry the potatoes until golden brown, about 20 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to paper towels to drain.
Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs in a large bowl with the salt. You want them to incorporate a lot of air so they fluff up. Add the cooked potatoes to the beaten eggs and let sit for 1 minute.
Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over high heat. Once the oil begins to smoke slightly, remove the pan from the heat and pour in the egg-potato mixture. Return the sauté pan to the stovetop and reduce the heat to low. The tortilla will puff up like a soufflé. Once it begins to set and the edges turn golden brown, flip the tortilla: Place a plate over the pan and invert the pan and plate together so the tortilla ends up on the plate, uncooked side down; slide the tortilla back into the pan, uncooked side down.
Make a small hole in the center of the tortilla to allow the egg in the center to cook. Once the tortilla sets, flip the tortilla back over and allow the center hole to close. Transfer the tortilla to a platter, cut into wedges, and serve.