Here at Spectrum Monkey we consider ourselves a fairly cultured bunch. It’s not just about improving our grammar and language skills. Although whenever the opportunity arises, we can turn anything into a learning experience.
Spanish cuisine is a massive cultural influence, as well as an interesting and fun topic. Therefore today we are going to indulge our inner foodie, and talk about one of the most iconic Spanish dishes. Spanish Omelette | Tortilla de patatas Tortilla de patatas
is often called tortilla española (Spanish omelette)
to differentiate it from a plain omelette or tortilla francesa (French omelette).
The word tortilla
is a diminutive form of torta
meaning “cake”. Thus, tortilla de patata describes a kind of savory potato cake. It should not be confused with the wheat-based flatbread tortillas which are synonymous with Mexico.
Tortilla de patatas is widely eaten throughout Spain and the Spanish speaking world. While there are many regional variations, the basic recipe is made using only eggs and potatoes, and possibly some onion. Although some purists would even argue that the addition of onion is not part of a traditional tortilla.
The exact history of how the tortilla de patatas came about is not clear. Some believe it was invented by the Carlist General Tomás de Zumalacárregui during the siege of Bilbao, as an easy and nutritious meal to serve to his army; suggesting it originates from either País Vasco or Navarra around 1800. However, others have linked the origins of the tortilla back to the Portuguese Restoration War in 1665, believing it to have been invented by Spanish prisoners in the form of a potato and egg pie which has evolved into the modern day Spanish omelette.
Whether you prefer tortilla de patatas
or tortilla de patatas con cebolla
, the basic recipe remains more or less the same.
So with this said, we thought it might be fun to look at a recipe for a traditional Spanish omelette anyone can make a home. We will see the recipe in the both Spanish and English.
This is a fantastic way to brush up on and practice verb moods.
The great thing about following a recipe is that they are usually written as instructions, thus using the imperative mood. Also, very often the instructions will reference a vague future, which can trigger the subjunctive mood.
Below is a recipe for a simple but classic Spanish omelette with onion. We’ve colour coded some of the Spanish instructions to highlight when we are using various mood tenses. INGREDIENTES | INGREDIENTS
• 6 huevos | 6 eggs
• 3 patatas (600 gramos) | 3 potatoes (600 grams)
• 1 cebolla pequeña | 1 small onion
• 4 cucharadas de aceite de oliva | 4 tablespoons of olive oil
• Sal al gusto | Salt to taste
|METHOD ||PREPARACIÓN |
|Wash and peel the potatoes. Dry them and cut them into fine slices. ||Lave y pele las patatas. Séquelas y córtelas en rodajas finas. |
|Chop the onion into fine slices. ||Pique la cebolla en rodajas finas. |
|Fry the potatoes and onion on a low heat in a pan with the oil. ||Fría las papatas y la cebolla a fuego lento en una sartén con el aceite. |
|Continue cooking for about 20 minutes until the potatoes and onions are soft. ||Continúe cocinando por unos 20 minutos hasta que las papatas y las cebollas estén suaves. |
|Drain the potatoes and onions from the oil and save it. ||Escurra las patatas y las cebollas de aceite y resérvelo. |
|Clean the pan with kitchen paper. ||Limpie la sartén con papel de cocina. |
|Meanwhile, beat the eggs in a deep bowl and add the cooked potatoes and onion. ||Mientras tanto, bata los huevos en un recipiente hondo y agregue las papatas cocidas y la cebolla. |
|Mix everything well and season to taste. ||Mezcle todo bien y sazone al gusto. |
|Return the saved oil to the pan, and add the egg, potato and onion mixture. ||Devuelva el aceite reservado a la sartén y agregue la mezcla de huevo, papata y cebolla. |
|Cook on a low heat until the underside becomes firm. ||Cocine a fuego lento hasta que la parte inferior se afirme. |
|Turn the tortilla using a large plate, so that you simply flip the pan over the plate and then carefully put the tortilla back into the pan to cook on the other side. ||Gire la tortilla con un plato grande, de modo que simplemente dé la vuelta a la sartén sobre el plato y luego ponga con cuidado la tortilla en la sartén para cocinarla del otro lado. |
|Cook for a few minutes longer until both sides are firm. ||Cocine por unos minutos más hasta que ambos lados estén firmes. |
|Slide on to a plate and cool for 10 minutes before serving. ||Coloque sobre un plato y enfríe durante 10 minutos antes de servir. |
Notice that we’ve highlighted the imperative verbs with blue, and the subjunctive forms with green.
Also notice that we’re using the formal usted version of the imperative. Whilst it is perfectly normal to see recipes written either formally or informally, we believe it is more useful to see the formal version when learning, as its the form you are more likely to come across in day to day life. Conclusion | En conclusión
Whether you try this delicious recipe out for yourself or not, I’m sure you’ll agree, seeing Spanish recipes is an excellent way to start familiarising oneself with various verb moods