In the Patatas Pobres recipe below the idea is to turn the potatoes occasionally to stop them forming a cake and so that they brown unevenly. It produces fairly inelegant (but delicious) clumps.
In this recipe, from one of Elizabeth David’s French books, the object is to form a cake which is evenly browned on both sides. Again, it is seriously simple cooking.
Halen Môn/Anglesey Sea Salt
Eggs x 6
A little Milk
Grated Parmesan or Cheddar
A little Cream
Out with the mandolin and thinly slice the spuds. Gently heat the oil in a frying pan. Layer the spuds in the pan sprinkling salt, pepper and nutmeg between the layers. I find that it only properly forms a cake if the potatoes are layered slightly overlapping by hand.
Cook on a gentle heat. You want to find a balance between frying and steaming so cover the pan but periodically lift and drain the lid to get rid of the water.
After 15-20 minutes the bottom should be browned and the spuds on the way to being cooked through.
Turn over the cake of potatoes. I cover the pan with a baking sheet, put a folded tea towel over that, flip the whole thing over and slide the spuds back into the pan. WARNING: make sure you don’t have too much oil in the pan because it is likely to run up you arm or melt your flip-flops into your feet when you flip the pan over.
Gently cook the other side for 10-15 minutes with the lid off towards the end to get rid of the moisture. Add a little butter and turn up the heat.
Lightly mix the eggs with a drop of milk and pour over the spuds. Lift the edges of the spuds to get some egg underneath. When you feel the bottom of the omelette is cooked, pour over a little cream and sprinkle with cheese.
Grill until the top is set and browned.
We serve it with tomato sauce. I mean Heinz Tomato Ketchup. Ms David might not have approved