opinions on food and travels

Spanish Tortilla: My Tor-Tatta is Born

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Here’s what you do on a Saturday morning when you’re home alone and want to wallow in catching up on reading food blogs you have been sorely neglectful of.  (All cooking and posting makes Kelly a very rude blogger indeed.)

You make your much needed giant cup of caffeine (Starbucks Italian Roast, thank you, with some warm milk and a spoon full of sugar, please?) and hunker down at your beloved Mac to get busy.

It looks to be a long, but very pleasant morning, so clearly, sustenance will be in order, yes?  Something tasty, not too hard on the girth maintenance, and easy.  You know, like take it out of the fridge and heat it up easy?

We had this for dinner a couple of nights ago, and it’s one of those recipes that improves with age.  Definitely perfect for me today.  Now, how to avoid Twittering while I’m reading through my favorite blogs.  So many bright and shiny things to distract me today…Must.  Keep.  Reading…

I’m looking for tonight’s dinner then going to Whole Foods to do what my oldest son, an employee, says is completely possible — fill my basket for $40.  It isn’t that I don’t believe him, but I get over there and want all the unique and different products my other 17 markets don’t have.

Right.

Where was I?  Reading blogs and enjoying my morning cuppa with a nice slice of my version of a Spanish Tortilla.  No, it’s not a flat wheat or corn disk that one makes tacos with.  Instead, it’s a traditional way to prepare potatoes by cooking them in hot oil without actually frying them, and then layering them in a pan to cook with eggs.

Although I’ve prepared the potatoes and eggs in the traditional way, I’ve included vegetables and some cheese from my fridge.  This is a perfect way to make something easy, and include those odds and ends I know you have if your fridge is like mine.  Plus it gives me some much needed practice time with my mandoline which makes such beautiful slices.  Now, how to remember not to purchase humongous potatoes so they fit in the hand guard thingy…

“Tor-tatta” with Veggies & Cheese

For the tortilla…
1 c. olive oil
3 medium to large russet potatoes, sliced thin
1 medium Spanish onion, sliced thin
salt & pepper to taste
5 lg. eggs, beat with a fork

My additions…
grape tomatoes, halved
parboiled asparagus (remainder of bunch)
1 tsp. dried thyme (from a fresh bunch I dried and saved)
hard cheese (machego, parano, or parmesan etc…)
more salt & pepper to taste

In a cast iron skillet, heat the oil and add the potato slices separately, and making sure they don’t stick together.  When you’ve got a layer in, add the sliced onions over the top.  Season at this point.  Keep an eye on the potatoes, turning them carefully and making sure they are cooking but not browning.  Continue until potatoes are tender, then remove them to a paper towel lined platter or colander.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix the eggs, asparagus pieces, thyme, cooked potato and onion, and tomato with salt and pepper.  Let the mixture sit at room temp for 5-10 minutes making sure that everything is well coated with egg.

Pour off all but about 3 T of the oil from the cast iron skillet you used for the potatoes and onions.  Turn the heat to medium high and right before the oil begins to smoke (it should be shimmering…) pour in the potato egg mixture making sure it’s spread evenly in the pan and shaking it a bit before turning down the heat to medium.  Continue to shake the pan periodically, and using a spatula, check to make sure the bottom is browning, but not burning.

When it’s browned, place slices of cheese on the top, and then remove the skillet from the stove and into the preheated oven to finish, about 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and top is a golden brown.

Serve hot from the skillet in wedges or cut into squares for Tapas.

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Notes:

  • For a traditional Spanish tortilla, the oven is not used.  Instead, once the mixture begins to brown in the skillet, a plate is used to cover the skillet, then the tortilla is inverted onto the plate, more oil is added to the skillet, heat is increased, and then the tortilla placed carefully back in the skillet to brown the other side.  This is done several times until the tortilla is cooked through, but still moist in the center.  When finished, it’s taken out of the skillet to serve either cut into wedges for a main, or in small squares for Tapas.
  • Fritattas are finished in the oven, so that’s where my recipe deviated from the norm, along with my addition of vegetables.
  • Have some patience when you initially cook the potatoes and onions.  The large amount of oil is what makes the difference, otherwise you’ll just end up with fried potatoes — the soft and yummy ones I grew up with.  Tasty, but not what you want for a tortilla.
  • Have fun experimenting with different vegetables, or try the traditional route by adding a small amount of parsley and rosemary, and some high quality canned tuna.

Okay, it’s after 12 noon, I’ve visited lots of foodblogs, but not nearly as many as I’d wanted.  So many luscious looking recipes and great stories going on out there.  But it looks like we’re having Peter’s Grilled Pork Chops With Mustard, Honey & Sage. I couldn’t resist.  And since I still have lots and lots of the amazing dough from Zoe’s Artesian Bread in Five Minutes a Day, I know I’ll be trying another loaf for dinner tonight.  As far as dessert is concerned, I just happen to have squeezed quite a few key limes yesterday and have cheesecake on the brain.  Hopefully it will end up on our table tonight or tomorrow, yes?