Brace Your Taste-Buds…The Tortilla Española (Recipe)
I’ve eaten a lot of strange foods since I’ve been in Spain: cow tongues, squid cooked in their own ink, blood sausage…and the list goes on. I stand by my own personal mantra that I need to at least try the dish, before I turn my nose up at it, (though that gets more difficult all the time.) I don’t know why I allow this mantra to continue to exist, because when something sounds weird and/or slightly disgusting to me, in my experience, it usually is. But hey, there’s no shortage of people who have tried garlic-fried grasshoppers or pickled pigs feet in exotic places and their taste-buds fell in love. I’m just not one of those people.
The beginnings of a Tortilla Española
What I do love is simple and delicious, and there is no shortage of that in Spanish cuisine. The focus is on fresh, cheap ingredients stemming from the country’s past history of people living off the land and stretching their meals as far as they could. Though there is a lot of gluttony-inducing variation of food amongst the different regions in Spain, a few dishes are embraced by all. If there were to be something crowned Spain’s national dish however, the Tortilla Española (also known as the Tortilla de Patatas) would reign king. And no, this tortilla has nothing to do with the beloved Mexican flat-bread.
Thick slabs of this “Spanish Omelette” are a staple in any self-respecting tapas bar, and a well-constructed one will surely be the center of attention on a weekend lunch. It consists of four main ingredients: potatoes, onions, copious amounts of olive oil and eggs. Of course, you are at liberty to customize your omelette, and red/green peppers, mushrooms and ham are all acceptable additions.
So without further ado, here is my first recipe EVER:
6 potatoes (waxy-skinned) washed, peeled and cut in cubes
1 large yellow onion, chopped
Salt, to taste
Olive oil (count on using about 2 cups!)
Optional ingredients: green peppers, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, etc.
- Heat enough olive oil to generously (this is key!) cover the bottom of the skillet, over medium heat.
- Wash and peel potatoes, cut into small cubes and set aside.
- Chop onion and optional ingredients.
- Add potatoes, onion, a few pinches of salt, and optional ingredients to skillet. Stir occasionally, until potatoes are tender. Don’t worry if potatoes slightly brown.
- Once tender, remove potatoes from skillet into a medium-sized bowl whilst draining the olive oil. Return approximately 1 tbsp of used oil to skillet.
- Beat eggs in separate bowl, and add to potato/onion/optional ingredients. Return to skillet, cooking 3-5 minutes on one side.
- Here comes the most difficult part and separates the real Spanish Omelette chefs from the posers: Grab a large plate that’s wider than the skillet and flip the omelette onto the plate. Return to skillet on uncooked side for an additional 3-5 minutes.
- Return to plate by “flipping” again and let cool.
If you’re not salivating too much, you can store the tortilla in the fridge until the next day to really let the flavors permeate, but I understand and won’t judge if you dive into it right away! ;)
¡Y aquí esta! Here is what the finished product will look like:
I took the liberty of pan-searing some canned roasted red peppers and topping the omelette with them, and though this is completely optional, it is highly recommended!
Mmm. ¡Buen provecho!