The Easter Omelette, or ‘Omelette Pascale is more than just a recipe in Catalonia – it’s a whole tradition!

omelette de paques

According to legend, Napoleon Bonaparte was travelling across southern France with his army, when he first tasted an omelette prepared for him at an inn near Bessières. He was so impressed that he had a giant omelette made for his troops the very next day. What a nice man!

Fact or fiction, the omelette de Pâques became a tradition to feed the poor  at Easter. Choirs would roam the streets in traditional Catalan costume, singing solemn Easter songs, ancient hymns  signalling a return to life after the sadness of winter.

Families would stand in their doorways and listen in fervent silence to the religious ’goigs dels ous‘ (joy of the eggs) before placing, in thanks for the music, gifts of eggs, black pudding, charcuterie, wine into the ‘cistella’, a basket for carrying home the spoils. The singers would end up with everything they needed to cook up a delicious Easter omelette the next day, preferably over a roaring fire out in the open air, often as part of a picnic or get together to symbolise friendship and fraternity.

Simon Newman brings us his own version of the Easter omelette 

In celebration of The Resurrection, an omelette is traditionally prepared for serving on Easter Sunday. Some think it’s a symbolic egg/re-birth thing but maybe it had more practical roots. A handy snack to sustain those about to embark on a journey heavenward perhaps.

Whatever the myth (or mythtake) I’ve resurrected an old recipe given to me by a Spanish friend that delivers top results every time – as long as you follow it to the letter. And the first letter is R, for Rioja. Yes, crack open bottle of a Navarra’s finest, waft it under your nose then take a generous draft. The blood of the Conquistadors is now surging through your veins. You can do anything. Right, here we go.

RECIPE

☛ Whisk 8 eggs with half a cup of milk and a good pinch of salt.
☛ Finely chop 2 medium sized onions, a clove of garlic and a green or red pepper.
☛ Peel and slice 4 medium sized non-floury potatoes, e.g. russets.
☛ Using 3 cups of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan (yes, that much) gently cook the potatoes, onions, garlic and pepper, on a low heat, lid on, for 15 mins or until the vegetables soften, stirring every 3 mins.
☛ Then drain all the oil. Stir the egg mixture into the cooked vegetables already in the frying pan, return to a low heat (no lid.)
☛ Draw a wooden spatula across the base of the pan a half a dozen times over the next 2 minutes.
☛ Replace the lid and continue to cook on gentle heat for a further 5 to 7 minutes (or until the omelette is set) during which time you should gently agitate the pan every minute to encourage the bottom of the omelette to break any connection with the base.
☛ Now ease a plastic slice under the omelette all the way round until it’s entirely free. Turn the heat up to medium for 2 mins. And now the moment of truth. This is turning point. A quick snifter of  the Rioja and brace yourself.
☛ Take a large plate and place it over the omelette pressing gently but firmly down with one hand. Take the pan handle in the other hand and turn the whole caboodle upside down. Hold your nerve.
☛ Now slide the omelette carefully back into the pan to cook the other side (low heat, lid on) for another 2  minutes. Turn off the heat and gently edge the omelette out on to a serving dish. Phew.
☛ Take a deep, well-earned glug and congratulate yourself. You made it. Didn’t you? Oh right. I see. You dropped the lot, slipped on the mess and fractured your tibia. Tant pis. You can’t make an omelette without breaking legs.

 

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  1. I often make a similar omelette — usually without the Rioja… But I par boil the potatoes first, eschew most of the oil and, when the base is cooked golden, I place the pan under the grill. Much safer than turning the whole omelette — though perhaps not so much fun… 🙂

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