Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Spanish Tortilla

When I was in Spain this summer I ate a lot of tortillas. They were our go-to when we were sick of fish in Cabo de Palos (didn't happen to me, but to other members of my family), when we didn't feel like eating heavy meat in Madrid, or when we wanted something to nosh on between lunch and dinner while drinking a lovely Alhambra beer. And now that winter is rapidly approaching, I think about sunny Spain a lot. Like, a REAL WHOLE LOT.

While I was in Spain I bought a Spanish cookbook, but I hadn't made use of it (other than looking through it and reminiscing) until tonight. A tortilla is a perfect light dinner and it only uses pantry staples so you don't have to go out to buy anything fancy. And, if you're like me, you will get to think about lying on beautiful beaches like this one while eating it:

Here's what you need:

1 kg potatoes (about 7 small ones), thinly (THINLY) sliced (don't bother peeling them)
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
8 eggs (I made mine with 6 but 8 would have been yummier)
plenty of olive oil and salt and pepper.

1. Heat about 4-5 tbs of olive oil in a cast-iron frying pan over medium-high. When the oil is hot but not smoking (that's too hot), throw in your potatoes and brown them for 5 minutes.

2. After 5 minutes, add the onions and reduce the heat. You want to cook the potatoes through without burning them. It might take up to 30 minutes. The potatoes should be soft.

3. Meanwhile, beat your eggs with a whisk. When the potatoes are cooked, let them cook in a strainer for a while (you get rid of a bit of oil that way, too) and then mix them in with the egg. Add a fair bit of salt and pepper.

4. With the cast-iron pan still on low, pour in the egg and potato mixture. There should still be oil coating the pan from when you were cooking the potatoes. Let the tortilla cook SLOWLY. You need to cook it until egg is almost entirely cooked through without the bottom burning. DO NOT STIR THE EGGS but DO curve over the edges of the tortilla with a spatula so that the edges end up rounded.

5. When it is just about cooked through so that there are almost no runny bits on top - now this is a bit tricky - take a place and place it on top of the pan. You are going to flip that tortilla. So, holding the plate steady on the pan with one hand, flip the tortilla out of the pan and onto the plate. Then slide it carefully back into the hot pan but on the other side. Got it?

6. Let the tortilla brown on that side, then slice and serve! You can add variations - zucchini, ham, cheese - but the potato version is classic. It's pretty tasty as cold leftovers too - they serve it cold in Spain.

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