It took me a while to get onto the Tortilla bandwagon. I just didn’t see the amazing simplicity of this fabulous dish. Obviously it was because I had not had a good specimen until I had a really good home-made one. And now that I’ve mastered it, I make it at home more often.
Now here comes the great debate: Onions or no onions? And, as any true Spaniard will attest, the other great debate, is runny or dry? Well, as all things, I think it is really preference. I personally like mine with onions, it lends it a certain depth and sweetness. Now the runny and dry bit, well, that was another point. As you all may know, I used to hate eggs, so when I first moved here, the obvious answer was a dry tortilla. I now love the runny ones, but not as runny as some of my friends. And here in Catalonia, it is served with the ubiquitous “Pa amb tomaquet”….which is our version of the bruschetta. (Shh, don’t tell anyone, it isn’t as nice as the Italian version, although it is still delicious).
Tortilla is one of those simple, feel good dishes that is great to serve as a light dinner. Mind you, it is not easy to master, and it does take quite a bit of preparation to make a perfect tortilla. It’s not one of those things that you say, two minutes into your famished guests arriving, “I’ll make a tortilla!” because you will all be eating the cutlery by that point.
Since I teach how to make tortillas on a weekly basis, I have mastered the technique which I am going to share with you. Step by step.
So here’s what you’re going to need:
2 potatoes, peeled, cut in half, and sliced horizontally
1 large onion, sliced
1 liter of olive oil (trust me on this)
In a large stockpot over medium high heat, add 3/4 liter of olive oil. When it is hot but not smoking, add the potatoes and onions. Lower heat to medium. Cook, poaching the potatoes and onions until the potatoes are fork tender, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, crack your eggs and beat. Add salt. At this time, get all the things you are going to need for the tortilla. A large plate, two frying pans, one medium, one smaller (optional). IMPORTANT NOTE: THEY MUST BE NON-STICK FRYING PANS. If not, your tortilla will stick and the whole process is ruined.
When your potatoes and onions are done, strain them, reserving 2 tbsp of oil. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. When your potatoes are cool enough to touch, then mix them in with your scrambled eggs.
In a medium frying pan, add 1 tbsp of your reserved oil. Heat over medium heat until almost smoking.
Now add your egg and potato mixture, and as soon as it hits the pan, start stirring the eggs so that they coagulate and the uncooked part goes to the bottom, and you get some cooked egg on top……like this:
simultaneously, as you are stirring the center, with your wooden spoon, drag it along the edges to make sure that it is drying up.
This enables you to make sure that the tortilla is not sticking on the edges, so it will flip loosely onto your large plate. Keep doing these movements until you see little runniness in the middle, and it seems like it is drying up.
When you feel that there won’t be enough egg mix lost when you do “The Flip”, then place your large plate (it must be larger than the circumference of your frying pan) on top of the pan,
And with a flick of your wrist, flip the tortilla onto the plate, and then slide back into the frying pan.
At this point, you can choose if you want to place it into a smaller frying pan. I learned this tip from a proper Catalan, who said always move your tortilla into a smaller frying pan to get that nice rounded shape.
If you do switch to a smaller frying pan, then add the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil, and heat over a low flame. Either way, if you do or you don’t, you have to start to tuck in the edges of the tortilla, to give it a nice round shape on the edges. And, now the key is if you want it a bit runny, or “JUICY” as they would say here, you either cook it for 2 more minutes, or 7 more minutes. Since I like mine in between, I cook it for 5 more minutes.
Slide it back on a clean plate, let rest for at least 5 minutes, and serve warm with nice crusty tomato bread.
From my kitchen to yours,