Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tortilla Española

You're going to read this recipe and your eyebrows are going to rise. You know what and how I cook: you've seen my recipes, so you know I'm no "Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade" kinda gal. But trust me and give this tortilla a try. It's wonderful made ahead and would make a super dinner with a green salad.

OK, one step back: what's tortilla española? Tortilla is similar to a frittata or an open-faced omelette. It's made with fresh potatoes, sliced thin and fried in olive oil (lots of olive oil). The potatoes are stirred into beaten egg and then cooked into the tortilla.

This version is based on a recipe by Ferran Adrià (yes, that Ferran Adrià). It's been around the interwebs for a while and many have taken a shot at making it (look here for posts by Chez Pim, here for Matt Bites and here for Lobstersquad). Some have hated it (Pim), some loved it (Lobstersquad).

I've brought this tortilla to a few parties. Cut it into small squares and serve it at room temperature. It's a delicious and different contribution to a potluck (plus it's a great small-talk-starter). Most recently, I brought it to a sherry tasting party and I thought it paired well with a variety of sherries (especially manzanilla).

Tortilla Española
Serves 3-4 as an entrée and many more as a cocktail bite.

A key factor for success here is the quality of your eggs. My eggs are from my local guy: they've got big, orange yolks and made for a beautiful golden dish. The other big choice you're going to have to make is about the selection of your chip. Ideally, they should be thick-ish and pretty crispy. I think Kettle Chips would be a good choice, but I use Grandma Utz's potato chips which are fried, wait for it, in lard. Yup. And that subtle porkiness really gives the tortilla a rounder flavor and a richer mouthfeel. Check the labels in your supermarket aisle, you might find a lardy local option.

The recipe is easily doubled - use a 10" skillet.
  • 100 grams potato chips (check the bag - they're all labeled with ounces and grams)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup caramelized onions, finely chopped or 1/4 cup fried onions (like the kind you can buy at an Asian market)
  • pinch of hot pepper flakes or Aleppo pepper, optional
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • olive oil
Crush the potato chips up - no too fine, shoot for 1-2" squares. Beat the eggs until well combined and stir in the potato chips. Let the chips sit in the egg for about 5 minutes to soften up.

After the chips have "rested" stir in the onions, pepper flakes (if using) and salt.

Heat a small non-stick skillet (about 6") and drizzle in a little olive oil. When the oil and skillet are hot, pour in the egg mixture (you may feel like there's not enough egg, but there is). Lower the heat to low and cook the eggs slowly. When the tortilla is starting to set up the bottom will be firm, and the center is starting to solidify. This will take about 5 minutes.

Flip the tortilla (Place a plate over the top of the skillet and flip the tortilla onto the plate. Slide the tortilla, uncooked side down back into the skillet.). Cook another 5 minutes or, until cooked to your liking. You can test doneness buy cutting a little bit into the tortilla and seeing how runny it is.

Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

1 comment:

Tracy said...

Utz is by far my favorite brand of chip. Love seeing it used in this way :)

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