Friday, June 25, 2010

Spanish Tortilla

One of my favorite memories from our honeymoon was being really lazy and at cafes in Madrid sipping Sangria and sharing some kick-ass tapas. We ate (and drank) practically everything on the menu, but what we kept coming back to was Spanish Tortilla. I mean, how can anyone go wrong making a giant, pan-sized pancake out of potatoes, onions, and eggs. Seriously. Yum. It's a little tough to get the hang of flipping the thing without dripping hot oil over your hands. Trust me, I've done it. Ouch. But after you get the hang of things, your family will be asking for it on a constant basis. John asks for it at least every month. Usually more like every two weeks.

I can't remember where I first read this recipe, hence the lack of a reference. Usually, I just throw in as many potatoes as I have left in my pantry and add enough eggs to get the right consistency. I like my tortilla a little more on the potato-y side (John claims it's the Irish heritage), so dial the eggs and potatoes up or down to get exactly what you like best!

Spanish Tortilla
5-6 Potatoes, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
1 Onion, diced
4-5 Large Eggs
1/2 - 1 Cup Olive Oil*
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper

Heat enough oil over medium-low heat in a 9-inch nonstick pan so that it measures about 1/2 inch up the side of the pan. Once the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the potatoes and onions. Let the potatoes cook until they are starting to fall apart, 10-15 minutes. We're not trying to fry the potatoes, just let them absorb as much of the Olive Oil flavor as they can and get good and soft. Set a strainer into a bowl and pour the potatoes into the strainer, allowing the oil to drip into the bowl.

From the strained oil, add about 1 tsp. back into the pan and let it get hot. Traditionally, you should let the potatoes cool so they don't cook the eggs too fast, but I'm usually too impatient to do something like that. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and add salt and pepper. Pour potatoes into eggs and mix until just combined. Quickly, pour the egg-potato mixture into the hot pan. Shake the pan a little to get the eggs into all the crevices between the potatoes and to smooth the top. Cook, shaking the pan every couple of minutes, until the eggs are almost set at the top, about 5-7 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover your hands in pot-holders (see earlier comment). Place a large plate over the pan and flip the tortilla onto the plate (this is best done over a sink). Quickly slide the tortilla off the plate and back into the pan (you shouldn't need to add any more oil to the pan, but if it looks too dry, add a little bit from the reserved oil.) Cook the other side for a few minutes, or until golden brown on both sides. Slide the tortilla onto another plate and serve! Enjoy!

*You must Must MUST use Olive Oil. The higher quality oil you use, the better this dish will come out. Because really good Olive Oil can get a little pricey, I tried using Vegetable Oil once. I've regretted it ever since. It was that traumatic. In this dish, the potatoes soak up the flavor of the oil and it definitely comes out in the dish. Vegetable, Canola or any other kind of oil just doesn't give the tortilla the right flavor. Trust me, and don't make the same sad mistakes I did.

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