Tortilla Española

Back in April of last year (April 23, to be exact), I wrote a bit about tapas and offered a recipe for datiles con tocino, a very popular tapa. There have been so many searches for this recipe that I thought perhaps another classic tapa might be in order—just in case you’re all throwing tapas parties.

Actually, Spain’s wonderful tortilla española can be served as a tapa or as a main course, with nothing more than a variation in portion size. The ingredients are simple and inexpensive, but for all its simplicity, this recipe is remarkably delicious.

A true tortilla española always includes potatoes, but there are many variations. I recommend trying it “straight” first, so you know how good it is plain, then go ahead and improvise. Roasted red pepper, ham strips, sautéed asparagus—almost anything could be added to the basic recipe. But the original is so tasty, you may never want to change it. Be sure to use a skillet, which has sloping sides, not a frying pan, which has straight sides. Nonstick pans make this recipe a lot easier.

Tortilla Española
Olive Oil
2-1/2 pounds baking potatoes
salt and pepper
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
5 large eggs
1 clove garlic, chopped

Peel potatoes and slice 1/8 inch thick. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 13”x9” roasting pan with 2-3 tsp. oil. Arrange a layer of potatoes in the pan, sprinkle lightly with salt and scatter with some of the onion. Drizzle with about 1 Tbs. of oil. Continue to make layers with potato and onion, salt and oil, using about 3 Tbs. of olive oil in all. Roast for 45 minutes, loosening and turning potatoes occasionally with a spatula.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with a fork until a uniformly lemony color. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the roasted potatoes and onion, separating them as much as possible, then pressing them down in the bowl so that they are covered with egg. Let sit about 10 minutes.

Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil and chopped garlic in a 9- or 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Quickly add the egg-potato mixture and flatten with the spatula. Shake the skillet occasionally to prevent sticking (if you’re not using a nonstick pan, shake constantly). When the underside begins to brown, slide the omelet onto a dinner plate. Place another plate on top of the omelet and flip it over. Again, heat 1 Tbs. oil in the skillet. Remove the top plate from the omelet and slide it back into the skillet, pressing it down and smoothing any ragged edges. Continue to shake the skillet. Brown nicely on the second side, then turn again, and cook until egg is set. Slide onto a plate for serving. Cut into wedges or small squares. Can be served hot or at room temperature. As a tapa, serves 8 to 10; as a main course, serves 4.

© 2009 Cynthia Clampitt

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