Potato Omelette without potatoes or eggs

Spanish Potato Omelette without potatoes or Eggs

Is it possible to make a potato omelette without potatoes or eggs?

This preparation existed during the post civil war in Spain (1936-1939). During the post-Spanish civil war there was a lot of hunger and there were many who used their imaginations to calm their hunger. A proof of the creativity that provokes hunger is this potato omelette without eggs and without potatoes.

The recipe is from the Catalan chef Ignasi Domenech, published in a book entitled “Cocina de Recursos” in 1941, although the review says it was in 1938. The book in which it is reviewed is entitled  “Los años del miedo” (The years of fear), written by Juan Eslava Galán, one of the best Spanish language writers.

Spanish Potato Omelette without potatoes or Eggs
Spanish Potato Omelette without potatoes or Eggs


The potatoes are replaced by slices of that thin white and fluffy layer that oranges have between the peel and the segments. This layer is carefully removed and when you have a full plate, it is soaked for a few hours.

The substitute for eggs is achieved with a few drops of oil, four tablespoons of flour, ten of water, one of bicarbonate, a pinch of ground pepper, salt to taste and a pinch of artificial coloring (El Aeroplano) that provides the tone of The yolk..

Everything is beaten until it becomes a fairly liquid cream, similar to beaten eggs. Now add the conveniently drained and poached orange peels, mix and cook in the pan like a potato omelette..

Spanish Potato Omelette
Spanish Potato Omelette

Omelettes (Tortillas)

The luxurious book La cocina de la casa de los Alba fills an inexcusable gap in the country’s culinary bibliography where there were already recipe books for actors, announcers, lizards, nuns and property registrars, but one for aristocrats was missing. The recipe for “potato omelette to the taste of the Duchess” coincides exactly, so that the social concord we enjoy can be seen, with that made by Bernarda la del Capaor, a shepherdess from the Alpujarra of my knowledge, a woman not as busy with life as the duchess, I mean she has never left her village.

Potato Omelette without potatoes or eggs - Los años del miedo" (The years of fear), written by Juan Eslava Galán
Potato Omelette without potatoes or eggs – Los años del miedo” (The years of fear), written by Juan Eslava Galán

Bernarda fries sliced ​​farinose potatoes in a clay pot and cuts them with the edge of a palette knife until they are a paste to which she adds the chopped onion. When the onion turns transparent, she removes the oil, adds the beaten eggs, and cooks the tortilla until it has a consistency such that a thimble sticks into the surface without resistance.

In the Alba kitchen, which I imagine is spacious and bright, overlooking the Dueñas cypress and perhaps adorned with a hunting calendar from Explosivos Riotinto, the eggs are beaten to stiff peaks, which Bernarda from Capaor does not do. Instead, she adds a splash of freshly milked milk to them. Bernarda doesn’t let the dough rest either, as the duchess does, because neither Genaro nor the five children hanging from her skirts, capable of eating God by the feet (so to speak), without any manners, don’t consent to it, the little angels .

Potato Omelette without potatoes or eggs

Bernarda knows a recipe for potato omelette without eggs and without potatoes from the post-war times, which she spent in a shack in Madrid, not far from the Liria palace. The potatoes were replaced by white orange peels (between the skin and the segments) thrown in boiling water from the night before and, in the absence of eggs, he made a flour and water gachuela to which he added a pinch of dye to fake the yolk color.

The potato omelette is one of the international dishes that Spain contributes to world cuisine. They say that the chef from Zumalacárregui invented it when he had to give dinner to the general in a farmhouse where there were only potatoes and eggs. It may be, but I have for me that it was already done in the Carmelite convents in the time of Saint Teresa. The potato omelette is liked by everyone. Bernarda and Doña Cayetana prefer it with onion, but Franco and President Azaña liked it without, where it is seen that it is not a matter of political colors but of taste. However, if diced red pepper and aubergine are added, the colors of the republic come out. delicious

Translation of the Writer’s Blog Juan Eslava Galan


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