Many years ago, and when I say “many years ago,” I mean 15 or so years ago, I tasted a delightful, yet extraordinarily simple dish. I may even go so far as to say that this dish was so simplistic that it was unforgettable.
The Spanish tortilla is simple, yet elegant. Common, yet sophisticated. Local, yet accessible. The ingredients are lovely in every way, although controversial. In all of the recipes I’ve read, the Spaniards argue whether onions should be included in this native dish. In my mind… add onions, a massive amount of garlic, shredded Manchego cheese, and possibly additional herbs, and/or chorizo and/or roasted red peppers. The more, the merrier.
I attempted making a similar recipe years ago, resulting in a total and epic failure. In flipping it, the egg frittata/omelet split into may parts. It was a sloppy attempt, if not embarrassing. Afterwards, I was determined that I was done trying (even though I was intrigued by this tapas style dish).
Recently Paul and I randomly found ourselves watching an engrossing, entertaining Australian chef (on TV) exploring the beauty & rich ingredients found in Northern California. In romping through the hillsides with the fat and happy goats, the chef tasted fresh ingredients including lovely feta cheese (which littered the top of the tortilla he made). His confidence and frivolity inspired me, “If he can do this making it look so easy, why can’t I make it?” Oh the arrogance…
We rocked it this morning, following this recipe to a T. We over cooked it (which I preferred to a possible raw center section) so we lost the top layer as a casualty. However, everything else was in tact and flavors were on point.
But “flavors on point,” meant bland and boring. I thought Paul would’ve fallen in love with the ingredients in this recipe (eggs, potatoes, onions, and olive oil) but his reaction was, “Eeh?!” Had I added the above additional ingredients, I think Paul would’ve been intrigued. However, the very traditional tortilla did not excite him.
Go forth and cook with your own creative style recreating this traditional dish.
Spanish Tortilla (recipe care of themediterraneandish.com)
INGREDIENTS: 10 medium eggs, salt, 1 tsp sweet Spanish paprika, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 cup private reserve extra virgin olive oil, 1 1/2 lb russet potatoes (peeled halved and sliced cross-wise), 1 large yellow onion (peeled, halved and sliced cross-wise), 4 scallions (trimmed, chopped ~ both white and green portions)
DIRECTIONS: In a big bowl, whisk together the eggs, salt, paprika and oregano. Set aside for now. Prepare a 10-inch oven-proof nonstick skillet or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium-high heat, watching until shimmering. Add potatoes, onions and scallions to the oil (don’t worry, at first, they won’t all seem to fit, but with a little stirring, they’ll compress as they cook.) Lower heat immediately to medium-low (you’ll want to control the heat making sure it continues to gently bubble). Cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are very tender. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Use a heat-safe strainer over a heat-safe bowl to drain olive oil (keep the oil aside for now). Season the potatoes well with salt. Give the eggs a quick whisk and add the potato mixture to the eggs, freeing the skillet up. In the skillet, heat 3 tbsp of the reserved oil over medium heat. Pour in the egg and potato mixture, and gently press to even out the top. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook uncovered for 2 minutes, then transfer to heated oven for 5 minutes or so to finish cooking, watching carefully. Invert onto a serving plate, or leave to serve directly from pan. I like to add a garnish of chopped scallions. Set aside for 10 minutes or so before serving.