Thursday, March 10, 2011

How to make a Spanish tortilla

My wife and I have lived in a number of places, so aside from our indigenous US and Colombian recipes, we often prepare other foreign dishes. One of our go-to meals is the Spanish potato tortilla, which I wanted to share with my readers.

To make one tortilla, you need three really big potatoes, a medium-sized onion, six eggs, and a lot of olive oil. I use low-grade olive oil to keep my costs down.

Since here in our town we don't have the huge potatoes common in the US, I end up using about five medium-sized ones, or more smaller ones.

You wash the potatoes and cut them into thin slices. I leave the skin on, though you don't have to.

You put these slices into a deep frying pan, and cover them with olive oil.

I throw a layer of potato slices down, then some paprika, then more slices, some curry, more slices, salt, etc.

You can experiment with different spices. In the following photo the little plastic box is full of saffron.

Next you start the potatoes frying. You can leave the burner pretty high. I've never burned the potatoes in this phase. Now you also dice up your onion, and mix it in with the frying potatoes.

After everything's fried for a while,

You get your eggs ready. You beat all six of them in a bowl, first trying not to touch the yolks so as to beat up a good froth in the whites. Eventually you then break the yolks up too, and are left with a good, airy yellow mix.

Once the potatoes are relatively soft, you take the pan off the burner and drain off the oil. I keep the oil for my table olive oil dispenser. It's great for drizzling on bread, flavored as it is with onion, salt, and spices. That way the precious oil doesn't go to waste.

Next you dump the fried, drained potatoes and onions into the egg bowl and mix everything together. You put the pan back on high heat for a while, then dump the egg-potato-onion batter into the hot pan. As the eggs cook, you can run a spatula around the edge of the pan so that the still-liquid eggs at the center run onto the hot pan surface. You can also put a lid on the pan and lower the flame, and this allows the center of the tortilla to cook well.

Eventually your tortilla will become relatively solid.

Now is the time for the most important part--the flip.

You put a big plate on top of the frypan, and then in a single motion flip the two so the tortilla is resting on the plate. Now you put the pan back on high heat, and then slide the tortilla into it again. This way you cook the other side of the tortilla.

Once the tortilla is cooked through, it's time to serve. You do a second flip to get the tortilla from pan to plate, but this flip is less dramatic, since there's no liquid oil or eggs to escape and scald you.

¡Buen provecho!

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