Ah ha! Bet you thought I’d packed in the apron! Or at the very least, the blog. Yes I’ve been silent, but I’m still cooking and still experimenting, and Spanish tortilla has been one of my projects.
Although I was doing everything all those Spanish English students had taught me about making a tortilla the way their grandma did, my tortillas still weren’t turning out with a creamy texture like the ones I ate in Catalunya. And sometimes they even fell apart. I always thought it was all up to the potatoes: not only the type, and whether or not they are sliced or cubed, but also how long they are cooked, and how long they sit in the eggs before cooking.
Then one day, I sat down at the computer and did a little more research and learned that the Spanish put bread crumbs in their tortillas, and use very few eggs, adding a little milk or water to make 2 eggs seem like 4. And yes, they are very particular about the potatoes. So I thought I’d give it another go.
The first time I added bread crumbs, I used whole wheat, and too many, which resulted in a kind of grainy texture. Not what I was after at all.
Then I stumbled on some lovely organic red potatoes at the James Bay Saturday Market here in Victoria – and bought a few at what amounted to $.50 each – for relatively small potatoes, no bigger than a large Clementine!
In any case, the expensive organic potatoes were magic in my tortilla, along with some white bread crumbs snatched from my mother’s freezer (I keep only whole wheat).
So here you go. The quantities are approximate, and as it’s been a week since I made it, you will definitely have to do some of your own experimenting.
- 4 medium size organic red potatoes, cut into about 3/4 inch cubes.
- Fry them in a little oil, over medium heat, turning frequently so as not to get brown and crispy. Cook until soft but not mushy, and definitely not crispy.
- Beat 4 eggs in a medium size bowl, with about 1/4 cup milk, 1/3 cup very fine white bread crumbs and a pinch of hot red chilli, salt and pepper.
- When the potatoes are cooked, turn them into the beaten egg mixture and stir with a fork, slightly mashing, but not breaking the potatoes as you do. The trick here is take off the outer layer of the cooked potato and blend it with the eggs and bread crumbs, while leaving the cubes relatively intact. Some people slice the potatoes before frying. I’ve had better success with cubes.
- Let the potato and egg mixture stand while you wash, chop and stir fry about half a bunch of fresh spinach with a little minced garlic.
- Add the cooked spinach, which has reduced to about 3/4 – 1 cup, to the potato and egg, and mix well. The mixture will be quite thick, almost like a potato salad.
- Turn it into a lightly oiled non-stick fry pan and cook over low heat until almost cooked through, then place a plate over the top of the skillet, turn upside down so the tortilla sits on the plate, remove the pan, then slide the tortilla off the plate (so what was the top is now the bottom) and back into the pan to finish cooking.
- As my Spanish students told me, the sliding off the plate back into the pan is where the cook is truly tested! If you’ve done everything right up till this point, the tortilla will arrive in the pan in one piece, if not, it will all fall apart and you’ll have scrambled potato and egg instead of a tortilla!
You may want to compare this recipe with my earlier tortilla recipes which you will find, along with some pictures, at these links: