Green Bean and Nigella Tortilla

Tortillas or Spanish omelettes are a wonderful and simple way to bring vegetables together. With egg as the binding ingredient, tortillas keep well and are delicious served warm or cold. The traditional version is with potato, onion and egg. The potatoes are par boiled and sauteed in copious amounts of olive oil, then added to an egg mixture, retuned to the pan and flipped over once cooked to finish. I prefer an all together easier process. I also have no specific way of cutting the potatoes, only that they shouldn't be too thick or thin and be able to hold most of their shape. The egg is also a matter of preference, just set in the middle with a slight wobble, gives the tortilla a moist interior while cooking the egg through makes it firm and dense. I like both. For this one the tortilla is about an inch thick and well cooked. It has also been finished in the oven under a hot grill, so no need to get stressed about turning it over. This recipe is endlessly adaptable and any vegetables, smoked meats or fish can be added. I have chosen green beans, nigella seeds and red onion for a subtle and slightly sweeter taste. I used desiree potatoes which are firm, smooth and waxy. If you use king edwards or standard whites then they will break down completely and turn to mash. Part of its beauty is being able to see all the pieces nestling inside the omelette.

Recipe (serves 2-4)

4 large waxy potatoes
half a red onion, sliced
good handful green beans, trimmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces
olive oil
6 medium organic eggs
1 tsp nigella seeds
salt and pepper
grated cheese (optional)

Cover a heavy, medium sized pan with about a centimetre of olive oil. Heat medium to low. Cut potatoes and add to the pan as it's warming up. Add beans, onion and nigella seeds. Mix together well. Cover with a lid or plate and saute, lifting and turning the mix frequently to avoid sticking. Work in this way for about 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are firm but cooked through. In a bowl whisk together eggs and season with salt and pepper. Turn on the grill and place an oven shelf as near to the top as you can without the edges of the pan touching the elements. There are two ways to incorporate the egg- either add the potato mix to the egg by incorporating it quickly to prevent the egg from scrambling, then return it to a hot pan. Or, flatten out the potato mix evenly and pour the egg over it, making sure the egg fills all the gaps. The latter sounds easier but often results in the egg not finding its way around. Cook until the bottom is golden. Put pan under a hot grill until well browned. Sprinkle some grated cheese over the top and return to the oven, just to melt. Allow to cool. Eat on its own or serve with a fresh crisp salad.

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