Monday, August 29, 2011

Spanish Tortilla with a Madrileno

Components of the Spanish Tortilla
Spanish tortilla, or 'tortilla de patatas' as it is known in Spain, resembles in no way, shape or form a Mexican tortilla. Rather, the Spanish tortilla consists of four simple ingredients: potatoes, olive oil, eggs and onions. 
A dash of milk and a sprinkling of salt is added toward the end for good measure.
These plain and simple ingredients that are in most kitchens at most times combine and transform into the most decadent, delicious and versatile dish around.
I've attempted to replicate the Spanish tortilla in my domestic kitchen several times and even once while camping, each time to varying success but they never tasted as authentic as in Spain.
Cooking w. our visiting Madrileno, Manu
My cousin, Shannon came to visit this past weekend with her boyfriend, Manu, who was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. Naturally, I decided to take advantage of the real Madrileno knowledge of our houseguest and put the Madrileno to work!
To be honest, I was secretly ecstatic Manu was willing to share the trade secrets of his mother's prized tortilla recipe. Upon preparing the dish, I learned no two tortilla recipes are the same and 'my mother's is better than yours' is the general opinion throughout the country.
Spanish Tortilla is often (deceivingly) translated into English as Spanish Omelet but the beauty and focus of the tortilla is all about the potatoes.
peeled potatoes sliced 1/8" thin
In order to accomplish the exquisite, oil-infused potato flavor of the tortilla, the potatoes are peeled, sliced 1/8" thin, then fully submerged in olive oil and cooked at a very low heat. 
In this way, the potatoes loosen up slowly, absorbing the aromatic olive oil along the way. 
Olive oil on very low heat
add peeled, sliced potatoes to the low-heat olive oil
next add the finely diced onions
Heat the oil to just above room temperature then add peeled, sliced potatoes. 
Add diced onions 1-2 minutes later. 
lightly beat eggs & a dash of milk in a SS bowl
oil-infused potatoes, ready to mix with eggs
drain potatoes and add to eggs
quickly mix potato mixture with eggs
While the potatoes are cooking, crack 4-5 eggs into a stainless steel bowl. 
Add a dash of milk and lightly beat the eggs. 
Once the potatoes are soft to the touch, scoop the oil-soaked potatoes into the eggs. The heat of the potatoes will slightly cook the eggs so work quickly to mix the eggs and potatoes mixture together. 
Once incorporated, pour the mixture back into the hot NONSTICK skillet pan. A good, nonstick pan is as important to the success of the dish as the potatoes and eggs.
Spanish tortilla setting over the heat
bravely & carefully flipping the tortilla
Within about 5 minutes, the tortilla is ready to be flipped. Use a flat plate, wide enough to cover the pan and bravely flip the tortilla from the pan onto the plate.
Slide the tortilla into the pan once more and cook for a few minutes more to ensure both sides are cooked.
2009 Auteur Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Spanish Tortilla w. baguette
We enjoyed our tortilla for dinner with a warm baguette and a superb Sonoma Coast Chardonnay from Auteur. The cold climate, rocky soil of the Durell Vineyard produces consistently exquisite wines for the best of the best California wineries, Auteur on that shortlist. The crisp, mineral-rich Chard was a delicious contrast to the rich, aromatic tortilla.
Spanish Tortilla as tapas
In Spain, the tortilla is eaten hot, cold or at room temperature any time of day. Often, sliced tortilla is placed into a baguette to make a bocadillo,or Spanish sandwich and it can be found sliced into bite-size pieces and served at any self-respecting tapas bar. 
Butterdate readers know well I fall hard for certain dishes and dream about them long after they are gone. I still dream of a bocadillo I ate every morning I was in Granada, 3 years ago. It consisted simply of a delicate slice of tortilla and a grilled pasilla-like green pepper between a crumbly baguette. Perfection!

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