Margaret on food

The Spring Omelette Festival at Ulldemolins

Ulldemolins, located in the Catalan countryside, is the centre of a wine, olive, and almond growing area. The omelette is a traditional dish, taken by the olive pickers up into the olive orchards. It is a spinach omelette, heated up on the spot in a sauce made of oil and flour, salt, water, garlic, parsley, and paprika.


Here's how you make the Omelette or Truita. It is unique in Catalunya for having a sauce. The recipe was developed for olive-pickers who left home for a week or two. They would take with them these spinach omelettes (the time of year: December and January, when the spinach crop was in and the olives ripe) to the olive terraces miles away. When lunchtime came, they made the "suc" (the sauce), and simply slid the omelettes into the boiling sauce in pots on their fires. They also took dried bacalao, which of course keeps and transports easily, and which goes extremely well with the spinach omelette.

Take spinach (this is an authentic recipe, so no quantities are given!), wash it, cook it in only the water that clings to it, squeeze out the liquid, then chop it. Beat the eggs (not too many - it's a very green omelette), then add the spinach and some cooked white beans (canned will do) and salt to taste. Cook the omelette in olive oil, strictly speaking in an earthen cassola. (The two we had for dinner were absolutely gigantic - we were twenty, and people had huge platefuls.) Fry the previously-soaked bacalao (the addition of bacalao is optional). In the oil in an earthernware cassola (this is essential, the omelette could have been cooked in a frying pan) fry chopped garlic, parsley, add a little flour (i.e. make a Catalan sofregit). Add hot water and powered red pepper (sweet paprika) to taste, and salt. Add a flour and water mixture to thicken the sauce if necessary – or, if possible, ground almonds (in all this cornstarch does very well.) Let it boil, then simmer. Slide the omelette in – either whole or cut into quarters. Heat it up on a low flame, while, as everyone says with relish, "fa xup xup" – which expresses the sound of the bubbling – until you feel it is ready. Serve with the bacalao.

Ingredients for the sauce on display

The omelettes (truitas) are lined up for judging.

Castellars as part of the celebration

Drinking the local wine – notice the flowering almond trees in the background.



©Margaret Visser 2001