Well, it’s about time I write a post dedicated to the Spanish tortilla. If you’ve ever been to Spain, you’ve surely tried la tortilla española (or often called tortilla patata) and know that it bares zero resemblance to its Mexican counterpart – ZERO (ok, they’re both round). While I personally don’t discriminate against any tortilla española, it is true that some are less than impressive than others. This is not the case with Jacobo’s mother’s tortilla however. Like every other Spanish mom, SHE has the best tortilla – but in this case it really is true!! While it’s a labor intensive effort, perfecting your tortilla making skills is a worthwhile endeavor. Let’s get started! Go out and get yourself:
5 extra large eggs
5 large yellow potatoes
1 yellow onion
Olive oil – duh (this should just be assumed with all Spanish cuisine)
Let’s first discuss the frying pan issue, just to get it out of the way. Make sure that you have a medium sized frying pan along with a light-weight plate that can easily cover and fit over the top. You will need to flip the tortilla onto this plate. Alternatively, you can just buy a frittata pan, which will certainly make your life a lot easier. Lastly, you could just reduce the recipe and use a smaller pan and plate to make flipping easier.
Ok, now for the good stuff. First, you’re going to want to dice the onion and then saute it in olive oil. The trick here is that you saute it on extra low heat for about it hour – or until they are clear, soft and golden brown. Be patient and let them cook away while you move on to the next step.
Now beat all five of your eggs together adding five pinches of salt (one pinch per egg). Set aside.
With the onions still cooking, and your eggs all beaten up, get your frier ready (if you have one) or fill up a large pan with olive oil (or if you don’t want to use olive oil, you can use canola or something cheaper, it just won’t be as good ). To determine when you should start heating up the oil will depend on how quickly you slice potatoes (if you’re like me, it could take days), because your next step will be to tackle the laborious task of peeling and slicing. Be sure to start heating up your oil at some point so that it is hot once you’re done with the potatoes. Once you’ve finished thinly slicing the potatoes, add them to the hot oil. Make sure that the potato slices are sizzling – if they are, then turn down the heat a bit as you want to make sure that you don’t completely fry the potatoes (potatoes should sizzle, but not McDonald’s french-fry-style), but instead cook them slowly until they are soft and pliable.
Keep checking that onion, giving it a little stir here and there. How’s it looking?
Once your potatoes are done (you may have to do a few batches), drain them on paper towels. Once cooled, add them to your egg mixture and mash the potatoes into fine mushy bits (such technical terms I use, I know).
Once your onions are finally done POUR them through a fine strainer and preserve the oil you’ve used to saute them (this is part of the trick!). Add your drained onions to the egg/potato mixture and combine. Meanwhile, go back to that pan you used for the onions and add the onion oil (imagine that yummy flavor!). You will use this pan to make your tortilla.
You may want to add just a touch extra olive oil to the pan so that you can move the oil around the bottom and cover the pan thoroughly. Once you’ve done this, add your mixture. You will want to cook the tortilla on medium or so and just continually check the edges until you see that the bottom has started to become solid. Now you will want to make sure you have your plate ready, along with an oven mitt and maybe even a towel over your “turning hand” – this is just in case any hot oil comes out.
And now it’s time for the big climax. Place the plate on top with one hand, hold the pan with the other (and the oven mitt). You may want to do this over a bowl, just in case you lose some of the tortilla. Ready, set, flip!
Add a touch of extra olive oil to the pan so that it covers the pan like last time, and then carefully slide the half-cooked tortilla back into the pan and cook until the other side has become solid. The most delicious tortillas have a golden yellow cooked outside, but a soft gooey inside! A true expert will only have to flip the tortilla once to get it cooked perfectly on both sides, but feel free to flip away until you get yours just right.
Once cooled (as it is usually served room temperature), you can either cut it into pie like slices (as is often the case at restaurants), or into cubes (as you will usually find at people’s homes as an aperitivo).