The New York Times Dining/food section appeared at the end of my couch made bed in Tiburon, CA, Christmas Morning. What a great ‘issue’. The hazelnut crusted sable is top on my list to try when I return home as well as each of the Egg for Every Occasion recipes. Then, towards the back of the section, Melissa Clark’s piece on the Spanish Tortilla. I can’t help but to share my piece & recipe with you, which I must admit, I like very much and hope you will too. Video in the works.
I often pride myself on not being an addictive personality but the exact opposite is true when it came to, comes to, making & eating Spanish Tortilla, on this side of the pond. After stumbling upon an article raving about the food lover’s Williamsburg, over a year ago now, highlighting The Bedford Cheese shop & the sandwich shop, Saltie I began to plan my Williamsburg assault.
The Bedford Cheese shop is a gastronomic play land. A no brainer for any foodD to visit & relish. The Saltie menu of 7 sandwiches seem to take their inspiration from each of our earthly continents. They are thoughtfully created and curated if you will. I plunged, with way less restraint than anybody else in the tiny space, into the Spanish Armada, a perfectly made, chock full of potato Spanish tortilla on a half foot square of fresh focaccia topped with pimentón aioli. I cut the sandwich in half, Dvoured one half sitting at the counter and wrapped up the other half wich,(I like the pun here) I savored at home while researching how to make a Spanish tortilla. Knowing what I know now I’ll want a flotilla behind me in support of all the beautiful food I’m so inspired to make with these downright simple, earth bound foods.
My recipe yields are for 1-2 people as they’re usually tests. Most recipes call for twice the ingredients I work with.
A non-stick pan, potatoes, salt, oil, eggs, onion, aioli or mayo and paprika. I forgot to include the bottle of olive oil in this picture and it should be because it’s the olive oil & seemingly large amount called for that ‘makes’ a proper Spanish Tortilla.
Most recipes call for 6-7 potatoes, any potato will do, russet, Idaho, Yukon, Bliss, to 5 eggs. Melissa Clark’s calls for 5 potatoes to 6 eggs. I used about 1 pound of small, tri-colored roasting potatoes I had around, half an onion diced and 3 eggs.
One of the key technique to making a Spanish Tortilla is how the potatoes are cut. Cut the potato in half, length-wise. With the flat side down on a cutting surface, slice across the top of the potato halves slices that are about 1/8” thick. No normal person would slice potatoes the size I used and truth be told, regular white potatoes look nicer and are far easier to work with. The tri- colored potatoes look exciting in the photos.
The onion is diced.
There are a number of cooking techniques that make a Spanish tortilla all that it is and not just a potato omelet.
1. The sliced potatoes and diced onions are salted and should be allowed to rest for 5-10 minutes before adding them to enough heated oil that they will be covered in the pan.
2. You cook the potatoes and onions in a good amount of oil for about 15-20 minutes, until they become tender but do not get any color.
3. The cooked potatoes & onions are then strained over a bowl, retaining the olive oil, then added to hand beaten or whisked eggs.
4. Mix the cooked potatoes, onions and egg mixture and pour this into the non-stick pan you cooked the potatoes, onions in.
A few recipes call for up to 2-3Cs of oil. I used just enough oil to cover the potato, onion mixture when spread evenly over the bottom of the pans surface. Cook the potatoes, onions until they can be split with a fork or spoon.
I then added the cooked potatoes, onions and oil to the beaten eggs. I mixed this well then poured it back into the pan that I melted about 1 Tablespoon of goat butter on to and a good amount of the reserved olive oil the potatoes & onions were cooked in.
A trick I learned is that the 1st minute of cooking time with the egg, potato, onion mixture must be very hot for the egg to not stick. Then you can cook the tortilla over a medium high heat until you see the edges pull away from the side of the pan. The middle will still be runny but when you can lift a side up and get a spatula well under it, it’s time to do the ol flip-a-roo Don’t fear it. Place a dinner plate over the top of the pan, stand over the sink and FLIP.
Put the pan back on the stove, heat for 20-30 seconds add a bit more oil and slide the tortilla back into the pan. Cook this for another 3-4 minutes, turn off the heat and let it sit for about 2 minutes before flipping it back onto a serving plate.
It’s highly likely the tortilla will split on the first flip. Worry not this is not the ‘presentation side’ and and once the tortilla is back in the pan all mistakes seem to work themselves out. You may also forego the flipping stage and finish the tortilla off in the oven, at 375 for 5-7 minutes.
The creme de la creme here is not the crema Catalana that I tried to make but the pimentón aioli. Fortunately it can be made quickly by adding paprika to good quality mayonnaise. I look forward to making the pimentón aioli from scratch. This is a true delicacy and comfort food at the same time. I feel it an appropriate share as 2013 which I know was tough for many comes to a close and a clean slate is before us as we approach the New Year.