Monday, February 23, 2009

Adventures in Cooking: Tortilla Espanola!

As most of the people who read this blog (all two of you!) know, this time last year I was in Spain. In honor of that fact, I've been really trying to incorporate some of my favorite things from Spain into my real life here. The 1 year anniversary of all things Spain reminded me that I loved certain things there and can have them here Maria Cookies and chorizo...

One of my favorite foods in Spain was
tortilla espanola or Spanish omelet. Don't let the word omelet fool you, this is different than your average breakfast egg. Made with eggs, potatoes, and onions, this food shows up in a variety of ways: wedges several inches thick on lunch menus, thin pieces on chunks of bread like a sandwich, or on the Tapas scene in small, toothpick adorned pieces ready to be served the beverage of your choice (and in a lot of places, included with the price of your drink!)

I haven't really explored many actual areas of Spanish cooking yet, though there are several recipes on the list of things to try, this is the first thing I really wanted to make. I didn't try at all until a few weeks ago, and was sad to report that the attempt failed miserably, largely in part to a bad recipe and the fact that I didn't really know what I was doing.

For anyone who knows how to handle an egg, the concept of a tortilla espanola is simple enough: it's basically finely sliced potatoed cooked in an egg. But this little tortilla is tricky! My first attempt worked well enough until a bit past the midpoint, the dastardly flip. This is accomplished using a plate, and you actually have to turn the tortilla out of the pan and put it back in again (in Spain there's a plate especially made for tortillas!) My first time through there wasn't enough egg on the bottom of the tortilla, and it crumbled when I flipped it out of the pan. So we pretty much had scrambled eggs with potatoes, which wasn't good at all! (I mean, it tasted fine, but it wasn't a tortilla...) The reason I said this attempt was with a bad recipe was because it called for the potatoes to be fried, and then for the egg to be poured over them in the pan. This doesn't cut it. Period.

The second time around I was a bit nervous, so I followed a recipe from that showed up in my inbox a bit after the first attempt, only I made it half the size! The idea was the same as the first but there were some key differences: make sure to use enough oil when frying the potatoes to cover them, mix the eggs with the potatoes outside of the pan, and the option (which I chose) to let the fried potatoes and egg mixture sit together in a bowl for like 10 minutes before putting them in the pan to fry. The difference was so incredible, and the end result was an actual (mostly) intact tortilla!!!

1. potatoes frying, 2. Waiting in the bowl, 3. tortilla frying, 4. flip 1, 5. flip 2, 6. tortilla!

Want to try your own? Here's the best resources I've found so far!

Food Network
Fine Cooking


knitandpearl said...

Oh yummy! this is like a frittata, no?

J-Mi said...

I've never had a frittata, but I think you could probably say they are cousins...only frittatas tend to have a lot more stuff in them, and are also baked while this is just fried.

presentsforpirates said...

mmm....that sounds delish!

'specially since i just ate leftovers. that's another thing you should know about me. i abhor leftovers but try to humor my husband on occasion.

J-Mi said...

I'm so bad at leftovers. We try to cook in exceptionally small portions (thus me saying in this post that I halved the recipe) because we never manage to eat the leftovers. I really hate wasting food too, it just seems to happen. Making teeny portions helps.

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