Saturday, April 12, 2014

Tortilla of Spain, I adore you ...

I guess just about everyone knows by now that a Spanish tortilla is not the same thing as a Mexican tortilla. The delicious Spanish tortilla is something like an omelet, but slow-cooked and hearty, almost always loaded with thin-sliced potatoes and often other veggies as well.

Tonight for dinner I constructed a tortilla with three large free-range local eggs, about 12 ounces of waxy fingerling potatoes, a smallish fennel bulb, onion and garlic.  I cut the fingerlings lengthwise into 1/2-inch slices and cut them in turn into rough squares; parboiled them for about 7-8 minutes until tender but not falling apart; shocked then with cold water, drained and set aside.  I sliced the onion and fennel thin and minced the garlic fine, and broke three fresh, free-range eggs into a bowl, beating them briefly with a fork and seasoning to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

The prep work takes about as long as the actual cooking, although it's worth noting that a tortilla goes low and slow; in contrast with an omelet which cooks in a minute or two, a tortilla might take 10 to 15 minutes to get where you want it to go.

So, using a nonstick saute pan, I browned the onions and fennel in plenty of good olive oil; then added the garlic, cooked briefly, and then gently stirred in the cooked sliced potatoes. warmed briefly, and, reducing heat to fairly low, poured in the eggs, pushing the contents of the pan down with a wooden spoon to make sure that the eggs were well incorporated and the potato slices mostly lying flat.

Cook over low heat until the bottom of the tortilla is finished and the top is starting to congeal, probably 5 to 10 minutes; then run it under a broiler until the top cooks, 2-3 minutes more.  When the tortilla is solid but still moist, slide it onto a plate, cut into wedges with a pizza cutter, and serve.

It's fine hot, but just as good served at room temp or cold; we'll enjoy the two leftover slices cold for lunch tomorrow.