Saturday, June 20, 2009

Minor Failure: Tortilla de Patatas

Even though this morning's breakfast experiment was something of a bust, it had so darn much potential that I had to post it anyway. Plus, I think I know how it can be fixed!

If you are not yet familiar with the deliciosity of the Spanish tortilla de patatas, allow me to introduce you. It's a dish consisting of many layers of thin-sliced potatoes, semi-fried in olive oil, then mixed with eggs and pressed into a pan, then slowly fried again until it becomes a thick mass of tubery goodness. Once cooked, you slice it like a piece of pie and enjoy with just as much calorie-ignoring fervor. (It's often cut bite-size and served as tapas.) Just do a google image search of it, go on . . . now, tell me you're not sprinting to your stove. You're not even reading this anymore, are you?

Well, in case you are, here's a lazy version adapted for the impatient and pants-size-conscious cook. I scoured the net and read many-a-recipe, finally settling on a bastardized version of all of them. I microwaved the potatoes instead of frying them to cut down on time and the copious oil called for in every recipe (ok, and probably some of the flavor too). I threw in some garlic scapes because I had them (that's the green you see), but they're not a necessity. As usual, you could toss in any (cooked) item you think would be tasty.

Tortilla de Patatas
(My proposed fix to an irreverent first stab at a classic recipe; serves 2 as a main, 4 as part of 'this balanced breakfast'; takes about 30 minutes)

1 lb yukon gold or red potatoes
1/2 onion, sliced thin
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp water or chicken broth
salt and pepper
  • Start by slicing your potatoes VERY thin. I used the slicing attachment on my food processor. If you have a mandoline, set it to 1/8 inch. Otherwise, slice as thin as humanly possible by hand. Toss them with the onions and a few healthy pinches of salt in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with a microwave safe plate and cook for 10-12 minutes on high, stirring partway through. [I cooked only for 8 and they were definitely underdone. You want them cooked through but not mushy.] Pour into a colander set over the sink and let cool 5ish minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in an even bigger bowl, beat the eggs with another healthy pinch of salt and 1 T water or broth (to break up the eggs). Add potato-onion mixture and smush down so potatoes are as submerged as possible in the eggs. Let sit 10 minutes.
  • When ready, heat 1 Tbsp oil in a small, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Tilt bowl and pour mixture into skillet, pressing down to flatten; cook 6 minutes. Run a rubber spatula around the edges every now and then to keep from sticking. Now is the fun part. Grab your microwaved plate and set it upside-down on the skillet. Flip! And then slide the tortilla [cooked side up] back into the skillet. Press down again.

  • Lower heat and cook 3 more minutes. Flip again, as before, and cook 1 final minute. Slide out onto plate and slice. This baby can be eaten warm or at room temperature.

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