Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Spanish tortilla

I will never forget the first time I tried a real Spanish tortilla. I was visiting a friend in San Francisco, and her Spanish boyfriend's mother had made us all a snack to take to the beach one afternoon. My friend said it was a tortilla, so what I expected was a flat corn or flour wrap. Not too exciting to eat without being stuffed.

Well, the tortilla in question was in fact a typical Spanish one, made with eggs, potatoes, onions, salt and pepper, and the skill that comes with many years of making the common dish. It was fantastic! We ate it with our hands, like we would a chunk of bread.

While the ingredients may sound like a potato omelette, tortillas really have a distinct taste, probably from all the olive oil. Pre-made tortillas can be found in supermarkets in Spain, and while they taste OK, they don't compare to the homemade ones.

My sister Michelle, who lived in Madrid for several years, makes a mean homemade tortilla, which I tried for the first time earlier this summer. This is my first attempt at using her recipe, and though it reads as if it's pretty straight forward, there are a couple of things I'm concerned about: 1) I am not supposed to let the potatoes get crispy, and 2) I have to flip the tortilla onto a plate toward the end.

Michelle's tortilla (makes 4 servings)

5 eggs, beaten
3-4 medium potatoes, washed, peeled, and thickly sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
lots of olive oil (I used about 3/4 cup)
salt and pepper, to taste

1.) Fry the potatoes and onions in the olive oil over medium heat, stirring often so they don't get crispy. I covered them between stirs.

2.) Chop the potato pieces as they are cooking; this will allow you to see how soft they are and make them more bite-sized. When they are cooked, take them off the heat and drain the olive oil.

3.) Add the potatoes to the eggs and stir. Then pour them into a non-stick pan over medium-low heat and cook until the eggs are almost completely cooked through. (This is where I added salt and pepper.)

4.) Loosen the tortilla from the pan with a rubber spatula. Put a plate over the pan and turn the tortilla onto the plate -- surprisingly easy! -- then slide it back into the pan, allowing the other side to cook. I continued cooking it for about 4 minutes because my pan was small, so the tortilla was thick.

5.) Let the tortilla cool. Serve it at room temperature.

The question of the day: What's the best egg-based dish you've ever had?


michelle said...

I feel honored :-) Yours looks really authentic! Nice and thick... xo

Nicole said...

I'm glad you think it looks authentic. It's only that thick because my non-stick pan is so small. I think it's time to get a larger one because I really use it all the time...

Kate said...

I like to make shirred eggs.....heat a buttered semi-shallow baking dish or ramekin in a hot, hot oven, add 2 eggs, herbs, salt, pepper and optionally bacon. Cover in cream and cook for a few minuted until the whites of the eggs set with the cream.

Nicole said...

Kate, that sounds awesome!! I'm going to try it some weekend morning.