I have been living off of a bit too much takeout for comfort this week. Think cashew chicken from the Thai cart, egg and cheese on rye from the Italian market down the street, and of course, innumerable cups of coffee from the cute little cafe positioned oh-so-conveniently down the street. Weeks like these suck my paycheck dry in unsuspecting increments — $4 here, $6 there, $10 if I splurge. So when tonight rolled around and I was faced with the challenge of making or obtaining food in the 20 minutes I had left before yet another task, I chose to stay home and pull a quick and satisfying recipe out of the back of my memory somewhere. It takes about 10 minutes to put together, and combines the best bits of breakfast with a subtle and sophisticated twist. Oh, and it is very, very cheap. It even looks pretty, provided you have a camera that actually takes decent pictures without copious amounts of daylight. I’m still working on that last item, as you can see…
Serves 1 or 2, depending on your sides.
I’m not going to pretend this is authentic. It is, at best, a dim replica of tortilla española, but is satisfying all the same — especially for a weeknight meal. And really, I could probably live off of this dish alone for quite a long while without getting too bored. The key is to get thin-skinned potatoes, and go ahead and grate them with the skin on. The grated potato cooks quickly and takes on that nice hash brown consistency, and the skin is hardly noticeable.
- 1 small potato, preferably Yukon gold or red, grated.
- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped.
- 1/4 t. salt.
- 1/2 t. pepper.
- 1 pinch saffron. This is optional, but worth it.
- 2 large eggs.
- 1 T. water.
- 2 T. olive oil.
Heat oil in a heavy sauce pan over high heat. Add onions, and cook, stirring continuously, for a minute or two, until they start to become a bit translucent. Add potatoes and spices, and continue cooking for 4-5 minutes more, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes start to brown. In the meantime, beat the eggs gently with a whisk. Stir the water into the eggs.
Once the potatoes are soft and slightly colored, pour the eggs over the mixture. Tilt the pan in a circular fashion, until all the potatoes are covered with the egg mixture. Cover and cook for a minute or so, until the egg mixture is firm. Serve immediately. Pairs nicely with sour cream and cilantro, as pictured above. I’ve served it here with a whole wheat muffin (a semi-tasty disaster, so I won’t share just yet) and a watercress and olive salad
Next time, I might try adding a clove or two of garlic to the potatoes, which might play up the saffron quite nicely.
I mentioned living off of takeout this week, which might have left you with a picture of piles of paper and plastic cartons and coffee cups, tossed along with the rest of our (rather minimal) weekly trash. Well, you’re partly right — I confess to being forgetful about bringing my own containers when I get food to go. But I do at least try, or decide to eat in, both of which are good places to start.
For those of you who get takeout on occasion, or even occasionally get leftovers boxed up at your favorite restaurant, you can help reduce the amount of waste we produce by simply bringing your own container. As long as it’s clean, your attempt to help out the environment (and reduce the restaurant’s operating costs) will be welcomed.