Archive for the ‘Mediterranean’ category

Tortilla de Patata

January 23, 2010

I am part of a gourmet lunch club at work.  When we get our schedules coordinated, we meet monthly and have a meal around a theme ingredient or cuisine type.  In the past, we’ve done Indian, cranberries, beans and legumes, chocolate (including savory dishes), and probably one or two more that I can’t remember.

This month, we joined forces with the other group that really “got into it” as well (as opposed to one group who went out to eat).  The theme was Mediterranean food.  I have spent time with Spanish friends and in Spain and one of my favorite dishes is the Tortilla de Patata.  I was fortunate to receive instructions from my dear friend, Charo Rueda.  If I hadn’t seen Charo make one, I don’t know that I’d ever have had the courage to do the plate flipping thing.  It’s well worth it!

Tortilla de Patata

5-6 yellow potatoes, peeled* and sliced not too thin, not too thick (1/8″-ish)
1 large onion, diced
2 cups olive oil – yes, TWO CUPS
2 t. salt
6 eggs

Have ready:  the widest round plate you’ve got.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying or high-rimmed saute pan at medium-high
heat.  Test the oil to be sure it’s hot enough by putting a little piece of potato in
it and watching for little bubbles all around the potato.

* – About peeling: I normally keep peels on to keep the good nutrients in food and I like the texture of peels.  However, out of respect for the good home cooks of Spain, I peel my potatoes for this.  All of the Spanish women I saw cooking peeled everything.  With knives.  Quickly.  It’s truly impressive.

Fry the potatoes and onion until the potatoes are soft and some of them are a little brown, about 20 mins.  Once fried, you have two options:  drain the oil out of the pan and use that pan for the tortilla, if medium sized, or, I used a strainer to take the potatoes out of the bigger pan and into a good medium sized non-stick pan (and then I hear Charo’s voice in my head that I’m so American to use two pans).

Important Note & Caution: It is essential that your non-stick is really non-stick.  If any food sticks to the pan, the tortilla won’t work well.  I’ve even bought a cheap, new non-stick pan when out of town just to make one tortilla.

Okay, so you’ve got your drained potatoes and onions in the non-stick pan.  Salt them liberally and stir a bit.  Now, put the heat at medium-low.  Beat the eggs in a bowl and add to the pan.  Be patient here.  Let it cook slowly.  Watch for the edges to be cooked.  Use a spatula to check for browning underneath.  When the sides are cooked and it’s brown on the bottom, loosen the sides with your spatula.

Here’s the hard part:  Place the large, round plate over the pan and flip the tortilla onto the plate.  Then, slide it into the pan so the raw-egg part is down in the pan to get cooked.  Cook until the bottom is lightly browned.

Serve at room temperature.