Recipe: The Perfect Tortilla de Patata

Tortilla de Patata

Tortilla de patata

Last week I kicked off a six-week summer in Spain series with gazpacho. Today’s recipe,  tortilla de patata,  also known as tortilla Española,  is another traditional popular food. Spaniards eat it for lunch,  dinner,  snacks (meriendas),  and for tapas. But,  if you ask for a Spanish omelet in the United States,  chances are you’ll be served an egg omelet filled with tomato sauce,  bell peppers and onions.

You might be wondering why I’m sharing this recipe with you,  after all,  tortilla de patata isn’t exactly what you would think of as health food. It contains eggs and oil. However,  one thing I learned here in Spain is that when you have healthy eating habits,  you don’t have to think about calories,  or how much fat is in the recipe. When you have healthy eating habits you eat a variety of fruits,  vegetables,  grains,  and legumes,  while going easy on sugar and fried foods. You eat home cooked meals rather than take-out. And you eat at the same time daily,  which helps to regulate your metabolism. If you eat eggs today,  tomorrow you’ll eat something else so you don’t repeat what you’ve already consumed. Variety is key.

My mother-in-law,  Petra,  and my sister-in-law,  Gelines,  demonstrate in the pictures below how to make the perfect tortilla de patata. Without a doubt,  it’s the best I’ve ever tasted!

Yield:  4 to 5 large servings,  or 12 tapa servings

Prep time:  25 minutes

Cook time:  20 minutes

Ingredients:

 

 

3 medium large Russet potatoes

Cut the potoates

Cut the potatoes

5 eggs

1 medium onion,  finely chopped

½ bell pepper,  red or green,  chopped into ½-inch pieces

1/2 cup olive oil

¾ teaspoon salt

Procedure:

1)  Peel the potatoes and cut them into pieces ¼-inch thick by ½-inch wide.

Cook the potatoes

Cook the potatoes

2)  Over a medium-high flame,  heat the olive oil in a 10-inch non-stick frying pan. When the oil is hot add the potatoes and let them cook for two minutes. Add the chopped onion and the bell pepper. Stir the potatoes and onions until the potatoes are three-quarters cooked and they appear translucent,  about 15 to 20 minutes.

3)  Get out a bowl large enough to fit the eggs together with the potato mixture. Beat the eggs and the salt in the bowl until they are well blended.

4)  When the potatoes are ready,  remove the pan from the heat and then strain the potatoes to remove the extra oil. After straining the oil from the potatoes,  add the potato mixture to the eggs.

Mix the potatoes with the eggs

Mix the potatoes with the eggs

5)  Wipe out the pan with a paper towel and add 1 tablespoon of oil back to the pan. Spread the oil around. Heat the pan over a medium-high flame. When the oil is hot,  pour the potato and egg mixture into the frying pan and then turn down the heat to medium-low. After 10 minutes or so,  you should see the egg starting to set up. If you stick a spatula under the tortilla and it holds together well,  then it’s ready to flip.

6)  Place a plate over the frying pan. If you are right-handed,  hold the frying pan by the handle with the right hand and place your left hand on top of the plate. Quickly flip the pan over 180°. Now your left hand will be holding the plate from underneath. (Reverse the process if you are left-handed. Your left hand will hold the panhandle and the right hand will be on top of the plate,  and then you will flip the pan over.)

Push down the sides

Push down the sides

7)  If the pan is dry add a little more oil and spread it around. Slide the tortilla back into the pan and allow it to cook another seven to eight minutes. Use a spatula to push down the sides so the edges become more rounded. If the top of the tortilla is uneven,  pat it with the spatula to even it out. You don’t want a lumpy tortilla.  When the tortilla is done,  flip it out onto a serving platter.

Note* – Many Spaniards flip the tortilla 2 to 3 times because the additional flips help to shape the tortilla.

Buen Provecho

Mireya

 

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You may also enjoy my recipe for Tortilla de Quinoa

This recipe is posted at  Simple Lives Thursday

UPDATE 10/20/12:  I was recently contacted by Nydia Armendia, who after living in Spain for three years has returned to the US and has started a business called Tortilla de Patata Gifts. She asked if I wouldn’t mind providing a link here for her site, and I said it would be no problem. Good luck with your efforts Nydia!

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Recipe: Tortilla de Quinoa

Tortilla de Quinoa

Tortilla de Quinoa

 

The other day I had some leftover quinoa pilaf that I made without the pomegranate, now that it’s out of season. What to do with the leftovers? Well, it’s good with easy over eggs, or a stir-fry –but I didn’t think of that. The food image that was making the neurons in my brain dance with lightning connections was a Spanish tortilla.

A Spanish tortilla is like a frittata, but it’s cooked on both sides. Halfway through the cooking process, you cover the frying pan with a plate and then flip the pan so the tortilla lands on the plate, and then you slid the omelet back into the pan to finish cooking it on the other side. The traditional Spanish tortilla is made with potato, onions, eggs, and salt, and oftentimes, bell pepper. It tastes great, especially my mother-in-laws; but, tortilla de patata, as it’s called in Spanish, can feel heavy in the stomach due to the potato and the oil the potato absorbs. I’ve been a bit irreverent to tradition. I’ve made tortilla with spinach, zucchini, asparagus, rice, and now, tortilla de quinoa.

One other change I’ve made is to cut down on the egg yolk, which is high in cholesterol and yolks may also cause inflammation due to the arachidonic acid in them. Don’t let this dish intimidate you. It may be a little scary the first time you flip a tortilla, but like anything worthwhile, the more you practice the better you get.

Servings: 4 to 6

Prep time: 15 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 ½ cups cooked quinoa (leftovers)

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil

½ medium onion, finely chopped

½ green or red bell pepper, roughly chopped

1 ½ tablespoons cilantro, chopped

3 egg whites

2 whole eggs

¾ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon hot sauce
Garnish:

1 ½ to 2 tablespoons whole cilantro leaves

2 tablespoons cucumber chopped

5 or 6 strips of roasted red bell pepper

 

Procedure:

1)  Heat 1 ½ tablespoons of the olive oil in a 10-inch non-stick pan. Begin to sauté the pepper in the oil. After two minutes add the chopped onion.

2)  In a medium size bowl whisk together the egg whites and the whole eggs, and then add  the quinoa, salt, and hot sauce. Stir well and set the bowl aside.

3)  When the onions are transparent remove the pan from the cook top and add them to the egg mixture.

4)  Wipe the pan with a paper towel and then put it back on the stove over medium-high heat. Add 1 ½ tablespoons of oil to the pan and spread it around so it covers the bottom of the pan.

5)  When the oil is hot add the egg mixture to the pan and turn the heat to medium-low. After about 10 minutes you should see the tortilla starting to set up. If you stick a spatula under the tortilla and it holds together pretty well then it’s ready to be flipped.

Flip the tortilla

Flip the Tortilla

6)  Place a plate over the frying pan. If you are right-handed, hold the frying pan by the handle and keep your left hand on top of the plate. Quickly flip over 180 degrees, so now your left hand will be holding the plate from underneath. (Reverse the process if you are left-handed. Your left hand will hold the pan handle and the right hand should be placed on top of the plate, and then you will flip the pan over.)

7)  If the pan is dry pour a little more oil in it and spread it around. Slide the tortilla back into the pan and allow it to cook. Use a spatula and push down the sides so the edges become more rounded. If the top of the omelet is uneven pat it with the spatula so it looks even, not lumpy. Cook the tortilla until the egg has set up, approximately another 8 minutes.

Flipped Tortilla

Flipped Tortilla

Slide the omelet onto a serving plate and garnish the top with the cucumber, cilantro and red pepper.

¡Buen provecho!

Mireya

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This recipe is posted at Simple Lives Thursday.

Tortilla Eggs on Foodista