Turnip Pie the Spanish-Way (not)

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Is it a Frittata? An Omlette? Or a Quiche? It’s a Tortilla Española!
The Italian call it a frittata – but they don’t make it the same way. They add the eggs to other ingredients when they are still in the pan. The Spanish way requires that you remove the other ingredients from the pan and mix them with the eggs, then add it all back in. Trust me, it makes a difference. When you add the other other ingredients to the beaten eggs and mix it, and let it stand, it makes for a creamy pie rather than an egg pie.

I was invited to a multi-national potluck supper, and was brain dead with what to make.  When that happens, I usually fall back on Spanish Tortilla de Patates, but I had yellow turnips in my fridge – not potatoes.  I’ve been on a bit of a fried turnip kick, so thought I’d try a turnip tortilla.  But alas, I only had 2 eggs.

Now a good Spanish grandma, who’s been making tortilla de patates since she could walk, can make a great tortilla de patates with 2 eggs, but not me. So seeing as I was already breaking tradition by using turnips, I thought I’d try mixing in a little half ‘n’ half cream, and goji berries.  The result was well received by Babel Lounge hosts and guests alike, and I was told: “You should write down that recipe.”  So here it is!

  • Peel and slice your yellow turnips. I used 4 smallish ones: each about 3-4 inches in diameter, or about the size of one of those huge navel oranges.  If you have it, use a mandoline to slice them so they are fairly consistent in thickness. You want them about 1/8 -1/4 inch thick.
  • Over medium heat, melt about 1/4 cup of coconut oil in a 6-8 inch frying pan.
  • Add your turnips, and cook till tender. You must stand over this pan, and pay attention, and turn the turnips often so they cook evenly and don’t burn. I cooked mine 3 batches.
  • As they cook put them in something to drain. I used a metal colander.  When they are all cooked, and all drained, add your drained coconut oil back into the frypan.
  • Beat 2 eggs with
  • 1/4 cup of half ‘n’ half cream in a bowl large enough to hold all your turnips, then add the turnips and mix it all together with
  • A little salt ‘n’ pepper (to taste) and a
  • couple Tablespoons of Chia seeds.
  • Take 1 small yellow onion and chop it up, then fry it till tender in the coconut oil.  Add the cooked onion to the egg, cream and turnip mixture and leave it sit for a while.  Some Spanish have told me the longer you let it sit, the better.  I let this sit for about an hour, because I really wanted to chia seeds to plump up. 

Your turnips are now ready to make your pie.

Reheat the 8-inch skillet with the coconut oil (you need a couple tablespoons oil in the pan), and add the turnip mixture.  It should be a couple inches thick. Depends on how many turnips you used. You are making a very thick sort-of omelette, or quiche-like dish.

  • Let it cook: Okay, so your eggs ‘n’ turnips are cooking – now you can reduce the heat, put a lid on it and go away for a few minutes.  But don’t go far.  Wash a few dishes or something.  You don’t want it to burn.
  • Check it: by taking the lid off and looking at it and picking up the pan and tipping it. Is it starting to solidify?  Is the top of it no longer wet and shiny?
  • Flip it: The trickiest part of making your tortilla is coming up. This is when you flip it. It has to be cooked the right amount when you do this or it will all fall apart.  So when you think it’s ready, put a flat plate on top of your pan, and turn it upside down.  The bottom of your tortilla should be the same shape as the pan – and it should hold that shape. Then you slide it off the plate back into the pan – only now what was the top, is now on bottom, and cooking from that side.
  • Cook it: It doesn’t need to cook much longer, just a few minutes, then you can put the plate back on top and tip it out – and voila, you have Spanish Tortilla de Turnips!
  • Serve it: I garnished mine with fresh green pea shoots. My hostess said it looked like a Christmas wreath.


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