Even if you haven’t worked in a restaurant, the concept of family meal may be familiar: It’s the act of cobbling together a meal that salvages or repurposes ingredients to resourcefully feed a restaurant’s staff before service, and, ideally, to connect them at the table. The frugality of this kind of meal can be thrilling — it’s a marriage of hospitality and practicality — and it exemplifies how many Americans are preparing food right now, as many home cooks have leaned into making focaccia, growing victory gardens and stretching staple ingredients.
Despite pioneering lavish modernist cuisine at El Bulli restaurant in Spain, the chef Ferran Adrià’s cookbook “The Family Meal: Home Cooking With Ferran Adrià” (Phaidon, 2011) embraces restraint. In it, Mr. Adrià explored the dishes he created alongside Eugeni de Diego, a head chef at the restaurant, to serve the staff. The book tackles approachable meals using limited ingredient lists, a topic not often associated with Michelin-starred restaurants but one that is ever popular with home cooks — and practiced now with renewed fervor.
The simplicity of Mr. Adrià’s omelet is its charm: Using just eggs, potato chips and olive oil, it evokes the flavors of a labor-intensive tortilla Española but takes only minutes to assemble and cook.
Mr. Adrià encourages cooks to use the best-quality potato chips and eggs available, but the recipe works with any chips you may have, even flavored ones. The tortilla’s execution may take some practice, but it’s straightforward: Whisk eggs until light and aerated, fold in the chips until slightly softened, then cook in a slick of olive oil in a nonstick skillet.
The only challenge is the flip. You’ll want to turn the omelet the second it starts to set underneath. You may fret about the loose, glistening, alarmingly uncooked egg mixture on top. Have some faith, cover the omelet with a plate and twist your wrists without hesitation, then just slide the omelet back onto the skillet to finish cooking. (Everything will be fine — and the thrill of the flip is part of the dish’s delight.)
You could opt to add some finely sliced chives, a pinch of piment d’Espelette or paprika, a handful of grated Manchego or any other cheese you have on hand, or serve the omelet alongside salad or charcuterie. But any addition is purely extraneous. Textural, salty and rich beyond expectation, the potato chip omelet needs nothing else.
Spurred by necessity but inspired by ingenuity, it’s the type of food just right for this moment, and a small victory however you enjoy it.
Recipe: Ferran Adrià’s Potato Chip Omelet