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Spinach Omelette with Tomato Sauce

Spinach Omelette with Tomato Sauce
This is a variation of the traditional Spanish tortilla, unusual because the omelette is finished in a rich tomato and garlic sauce (called suc in Catalan) in a terra-cotta dish. Once a year, the inhabitants of Ulldemolins, a town in the Priorat?one of the most beautiful wine-growing areas in the world?hold a celebration of the truita amb suc, with demonstrations and tastings. Each cook brings his or her own version of the dish. Classically, the omelette contains spinach and sometimes potato, but other vegetables are often added, too. A mixture of ground nuts and parsley, or picada, gives an authentically Catalan finish to the dish.

Serve with a straw-colored, herbaceous white wine from the Priorat.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb. fresh spinach, stemmed, or 1 package
     (14 oz.) frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1⁄2 cup plus 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 6 eggs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbs. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups tomato puree
  • 1 tsp. pimentón or sweet paprika
  • 1 cup hot water

  • For the picada:
  • 12 blanched almonds
  • 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 slice coarse country white bread, about 1 oz.,
     crust removed
  • Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • Crusty country bread for serving

Directions:

If using fresh spinach, put the spinach with just the rinsing water clinging to the leaves in a saucepan over medium-high heat, cover, and cook until the spinach is bright green and wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain well in a sieve, pressing the spinach with the back of a spoon to remove excess moisture. When the spinach is cool, chop it coarsely and set aside. If using frozen spinach, drain well, pressing out all excess moisture.

In a wide, heavy, shallow fry pan over medium heat, warm the 1?2 cup olive oil. Add the spinach and sauté until hot, about 2 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs until blended. Transfer the spinach to the bowl with the eggs and mix evenly. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve the pan with the remaining oil.

Return the pan containing the oil to medium heat. Gently pour the egg and spinach mixture into the pan and cook until the bottom of the omelette is golden, about 5 minutes (use a spatula to lift the edge of the omelette to check for doneness). Remove the pan from the heat. Invert a plate on top of the pan and carefully invert the pan and plate together. Lift off the pan, letting the omelette fall onto the plate. Slide the omelette back into the pan to brown the other side, about 3 minutes more. (If the egg mixture has stuck to the pan, brown the top under the broiler.)

In a cassola or flameproof ceramic baking dish over medium heat, warm the 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the garlic and sauté until golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the flour. Return to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomato puree, pimentón, hot water and salt. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is reduced slightly but not too thick, about 5 minutes.

Cut the omelette into 6 pieces and slide the pieces into the cassola with the sauce so that the sauce almost covers them. After 15 minutes of bubbling?what the Catalans call xup-xup?turn off the heat.

To make the picada, in a dry fry pan over high heat, toast the almonds until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool. In the same pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the bread and fry on both sides until crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Using a mortar and pestle, grind together the toasted almonds, fried bread and parsley.

Transfer the omelette pieces to individual plates, top with some of the sauce and sprinkle the picada on top. Serve at room temperature with plenty of crusty country bread for mopping up the sauce.
Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Foods of the World Series, Barcelona, by Paul Richardson (Oxmoor House, 2004).