Thursday, January 3, 2013

Comfort Food: Tortilla Espanola

We went to Spain in the late fall of 2008. We were on one of those cruises, you know, the sixteen day trans-Atlantic extravaganzas. We started in Rome, and on day three we were in Barcelona.

Barcelona is a weird mix of fairy tale Gothic and modern. It looks almost like a Disney version of a medieval city. People tell me that happened during the Olympics, when they were scrubbing up the city's image. Still, the Ramblas and the Boqueria market are stunning and wonderful, and I had my first Tortilla espanola at a cafe on Las Ramblas.

That was when I decided to make tortilla at home. My first few were just okay. My potatoes were too starchy, my eggs not quite right...

Then I got it. I like my tortilla cooked medium well, with no runniness to the egg. If you like yours less done, just adjust your cooking time.

So. You'll need onion or shallot and garlic. Chop it up and toss it in a good non-stick pan with some butter and olive oil. Seriously, I have a tortilla pan set I only use for this.

Sautee on medium high until tender. Then you add the potatoes. I like to par-cook, and I usually boil fingerlings and cut them in pieces. This time I used the mandolin to cut 3-4 Yukon golds, and parcooked them in the microwave in a bowl of water. This hugely reduces cooking time. Stir to coat with butter, oil and onion, then cover and cook until tender, stirring occasionally. (if using the fingerlings, half a bag or so is about right)

This tortilla also had diced proscuitto and green chiles. I added them during the potato phase, cooking them along with the potatoes.

Once the potatoes are tender, remove lid and crank heat up to medium high again. Crisp the potatoes for a few minutes.

While the potatoes get golden, crack 6-8 eggs in a large bowl. It has to be big enough to hold all the potatoes, because you'll temper the eggs before putting them in the pan.

Then you whisk the eggs together with salt, pepper, and your choice of seasonings. I love cayenne and a little oregano, but if you were doing more traditional, you could use some thyme and sage or some paprika and sea salt. You dump the hot potatoes into the eggs, mix them well, and put them back in the pan. Lower the heat and cook until eggs are set. Then turn heat back to medium high to cook a nice crust on the eggs.

If you have a tortilla set like I do, this is where you slide the locking top pan onto the bottom pan and flip. if not, you do it like I used to. Take a large, heat safe plate. Flip tortilla onto it. Then slide it back into the pan, wet side down. Cook on medium high until egg is cooked on the second side. Then remove to a plate.

BA and I like ours lightly brown. In Spain, I saw tortilla that ranged from barely cooked in the egg area, to brown like mine.

We serve with creme fraiche or Mexican crema, a sprinkle of cheese, and some tomatoes or salsa. In Spain? Mostly served plain. :D

Either way, it's comfort food at its yummiest, and naturally gluten free.



Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I have my blackeyed peas in the Crockpot, cornbread at the ready, and a lovely mix of baby spinach and kale for my greens. :D

I'm ready for good luck in the new year. You?