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Tortilla Espanola recipe

pagesinthesun Dec 11, 2013 09:03 AM

Does anyone have a tried and true recipe for Tortilla Espanola? I'm considering making this to take to a brunch.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. d
    DowntownJosie Dec 11, 2013 09:12 AM

    http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/spanish_potato_tortilla.aspx
    I like this version a lot and I served it with the romesco sauce I found on this site.
    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/820139
    Do not skimp on the oil.

    2 Replies
    1. re: DowntownJosie
      1sweetpea Dec 11, 2013 10:05 AM

      I have made many tortillas and eaten several in Spain. I completely understand the traditional method of cooking them (in a massive amount of olive oil), but I find it absolutely unnecessary to use that much oil (note that the potatoes can also be steamed, to avoid all the frying). I always use my Scanpan, which is nonstick, but still a heavy pan that cooks evenly and can safely go right into the oven to be browned on top to finish. I use 4 or 5 generous tablespoons of olive oil and it is plenty. I used to try to do it with 1 or 2 and it worked fine, but it tastes much nicer when the oil quantity is more generous. Onions and garlic need oil to become sweet and delicious. These tortillas almost taste better the next day, at room temperature, because the sweetness of the onions (and garlic) really comes out.

      The ingredients in the recipe provided by DowntownJosie are perfect, though I don't believe any tortillas I ate in Spain contained 5 cloves of garlic (or any, for that matter). However, I frequently add garlic to mine, as I love garlic.

      The texture of the tortilla is nicest with the thinly sliced potatoes, but I have diced them into small cubes and had success as well. I also leave skins on and use yellow fleshed small potatoes that have thin skins. They're more nutritious that way and nobody has EVER suggested that the skins are unsightly or affect the texture or taste of the finished product.

      My last point is that using the broiler to finish the tortilla, rather than the careful flip for cooking on both sides, works just fine, particularly if you have a lower broil setting. My oven offers three broil levels. The lowest or middle one browns gently and pretty evenly.

      I no longer refer to any recipe when making a tortilla. Everything is by the eye. I sometimes add a colorful vegetable for variety, but the basic tortilla is a winner, in my books. Served with a nice salad of baby mixed greens, tomatoes, cucumber and any other veggie that strikes your fancy, tossed with an olive oil, shallot, lemon and thyme vinaigrette (with or without Dijon), it's a light and perfect meal. Add to it some fresh baguette (my preference is multi-grain) and it's a substantial and well balanced meal fit for any casual occasion.

      EDIT: IMHO it goes without saying that fresh eggs, preferably from farm-raised free range chickens (or ducks!) are essential for tortilla greatness. You can use factory eggs, but the color AND taste will be much paler.

      1. re: 1sweetpea
        caganer Dec 11, 2013 10:25 AM

        I too have eaten my share of tortillas and I really disagree with the idea that nothing is lost by finishing a tortilla under a broiler. I think it changes the texture (allows the eggs to puff more) and it's much easier to cook to the proper temperature (the middle should be barely set, not hard) with even heat applied to both sides.
        Also, I think the admonishment not to skimp on oil applies mostly to the cooking of the potatoes - frying them rather than sautéing them gives better, fluffier texture and helps make sure they cook without browning.

    2. melpy Dec 11, 2013 11:11 AM

      Stick to the classic potato onion (maybe a tad of garlic). Avoid the ones with things like green peppers. Not as good!

      1. Ttrockwood Dec 11, 2013 08:06 PM

        This recipe looks right- i no longer use a recipe but this one has you cook the potato and onion in the oil and then drain them (keep the oil to reuse in another recipe)

        I prefer to flip the tortilla onto a large plate and then flip and finish in the pan.
        Please practice before making for company-it can take a few times to get the technique right with your own stove and pans
        http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

        1. paulj Dec 11, 2013 08:17 PM

          The classic starts with onions and potatoes fried in a lot of olive oil, then drained. They are mixed with the eggs and cooked. Part way through it is flipped to cook the other side.

          But tortillas can have a variety of other fillings. They also very in how firmly cooked they are. I've seen videos (with Jose Andres) where it ends up as a wet pillow. But they are also cooked firm and served at room temperature by the slice. There is also a variation, endorsed by luminaries like Andres and Adria, using commercial potato chips (good quality olive oil cooked ones) instead of the home fried ones. At Grocery Outlet I've seen (but not bought) imported jars of precooked potato and onion filling.

          Rather than looking for the one tried and true recipe, I'd suggest looking at several videos. There are lots on Youtube, from professionals like Andres to home cooks who make a mess of the flip. And then practice. Make some for breakfast for yourself (an 8" skillet size in a good starting point). Ultimately it is more about practice and technique than recipe details.

          1. paulj Dec 11, 2013 08:24 PM

            http://www.regmurcia.com/servlet/s.Sl?sit=c,543,m,1216,&r=ReP-21908-DETALLE_REPORTAJESABUELO

            is an authentic tortilla, but not the classic potato one. Instead it use eggplant. I tried this (from a another source) and rather like it - it has lighter texture since cooked eggplant is slightly spongy.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WENGD...
            This is a very clear video. I like the flipping aid, a light weight platter with a handle on the back - a giratortillas. Come to think of it, I have a dutch oven lid that might just do the trick.

            1. BigSal Dec 12, 2013 04:51 AM

              Here are some things that have me helped me with my tortilla making.

              Getting the right ratio of potato to eggs. I like 3 eggs and approximately 12 oz of waxy potatoes for a smaller tortilla (you can double this for a bigger one).

              Getting the potatoes the right texture. Low heat in oil. Potatoes shouldn’t be crispy, they should be soft, but not falling apart. I prefer waxy potatoes rather than russets and I also prefer thin slices rather than cubes.

              Cook the onions separately from the potatoes.

              Soaking the potato and egg (and onion for me) mixture for 15-20 minutes. I think this adds flavors and melds everything together. Also, make sure to well season with salt.

              Practice. Perhaps try a practice run with a smaller tortilla to get the hang of the flipping technique and to cook it to your liking (I prefer mine a little wet).

              Best of luck to you. Look forward to hearing your report back.

              1. pagesinthesun Dec 12, 2013 07:51 AM

                Ahh, some very good advice, as usual. I see now why I was struggling to finding a standard recipe in my searches. I will heed everyone's advice and try to put together a tortilla this weekend. (brunch is the following weekend). If I don't find success I can always fall back to the good old quiche standby. I will continue to practice, however, as I love a good tortilla.
                Thank you!

                1. h
                  Harters Dec 12, 2013 07:53 AM

                  I cook to the Spanish brother-in-law's version (and I still remember the first time I watched him prepare it - in Mallorca in about 1980).

                  Separately, gently fry onion and potato, in olive oil, until it's cooked through, but not really coloured very much. When nearly done, add some garlic. Beat two eggs per person and season.

                  Add everything back into the frying pan, with more olive oil and gently cook. As it solidifies, gradually mound up the sides of the omelette so you have a a much thicker, but smaller diameter, affair than when you started.

                  When it's pretty well set, you need to flip it over (put plate on top of pan, flip, then slide omelette back in) to finish cooking.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Harters
                    pagesinthesun Dec 12, 2013 08:32 AM

                    Is the tortilla browning on the first side before you flip? Or, do you not want browning at all?

                    Does your BIL use more egg than most? If I'm making for 6, then 12 eggs? That is a lot more than most "recipes" that I have read. Almost like a potato fritatta?

                    1. re: pagesinthesun
                      h
                      Harters Dec 12, 2013 08:51 AM

                      Yes, there's definitely browning. You need to take a peek underneath before you flip. That's going to be the side on view when you serve, so it needs to look nice.

                      I guess the eggs depend on the size of the frying pan. I use a standard 24cm diameter one. That cooks a tortilla big enough for the two of us to have for dinner, along with cold leftovers. Or would serve 4 for dinner, without leftovers. We use 4 eggs.

                      What you're looking for is a well filled omelette, but one also that has quite a bit of egg around the spuds and onions. You need the egg to build up the thickness.

                      1. re: pagesinthesun
                        paulj Dec 12, 2013 09:13 AM

                        What size of servings do you have in mind? They could be appetizer squares of full wedges. It could be half an inch thick or a full inch.

                        As best I can tell the proportion of egg to filling can vary. Sometimes it's mostly potato, with just enough egg to bind. Or eggs can be a major component. That is more likely with other fillings.

                        The distinction between tortilla and fritatta is not clear.

                        1. re: paulj
                          pagesinthesun Dec 12, 2013 05:09 PM

                          I'm bringing this to a brunch for 6. This will not be the only entree type dish, as the host likes to entertain and cook, as well. I had in mind more of the wedges than squares. I have a 12 in and an 8 in skillet. I think I would like it with a little more egg ( I have some wonderful farm eggs). I've had tortillas before that you could hardly tell there were eggs in them.
                          Everyone's information is so helpful. I appreciate the conversation.

                          1. re: pagesinthesun
                            paulj Dec 12, 2013 06:32 PM

                            While I typically use 2 eggs per person for something like scrambled eggs, for an omelet like this with filling, 1 egg per person sounds about right. 6 eggs also sounds right for a tortilla made in a 10" skillet. That's about what I use when I make a tortilla for 2 of us as the main coarse. I cut such a tortilla into 8 wedges. We end up eating 2-3 wedges per person, leaving some for left overs.

                            For similar proportions, I'd use 3-4 eggs for a 8" skillet, and 9 for a 12".

                            Rather than trying to flip a 12" tortilla (do you have a large enough plate or lid?), you might consider making 2 8" ones.

                            1. re: pagesinthesun
                              Ttrockwood Dec 12, 2013 07:13 PM

                              For me larger sized tortillas are more difficult to cook evenly all the way thru than smaller ones, for your brunch consider two smaller sized tortillas vs one large size

                          2. re: pagesinthesun
                            caganer Dec 13, 2013 10:16 AM

                            Many Spanish recipes I've run across just call for a ratio of egg to potato, which is really the most sensible way to think about that issue. For the most part recipes call for 1 part egg for every 2 parts potato (a large egg usually weighs around 50-60 grams, so 4 eggs per pound of potato should work)

                        2. monavano Dec 15, 2013 06:49 PM

                          Replying back to say that I made my first tortilla espanola this morning and was thrilled with the result, given it was my first attempt. The flip and slide back into the pan went perfectly- I was really worried about that.
                          I used a good deal of oil to fry the potatoes and onions, and as such, chose to use canola oil vs. evoo. Is this a huge no-no for tortilla espanola from an authenticity or flavor standpoint?

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: monavano
                            c oliver Dec 15, 2013 06:52 PM

                            Did you use a particular recipe please?

                            1. re: c oliver
                              monavano Dec 15, 2013 06:57 PM

                              Actually, no!
                              I used 4 medium white potatoes, 1 medium onion and 5 eggs.
                              I watched YouTube videos to get the method down and just dove in, and I think that's the best way to approach making this.
                              It really is about the method and about what makes the tortilla espanola different than a French omelette or an Italian frittata.
                              What I really like about it is the look- it mounds up higher and doesn't deflate like an egg dish out of the oven.

                              1. re: monavano
                                c oliver Dec 15, 2013 06:59 PM

                                We were in Barcelona a year ago and this was one of my fave tapas.

                            2. re: monavano
                              paulj Dec 15, 2013 07:08 PM

                              Recipes usually call for olive oil, but the amount suggests it is more of a cooking medium than a flavoring. Excess is drained off. They also use canola (rape) oil in Spain.

                              1. re: paulj
                                monavano Dec 15, 2013 07:12 PM

                                Thank you, good to know. I did drain my potatoes and onions on a paper towel, and drained all but about 1 tsp. of the oil out of my non-stick pan.
                                I think there's something about the combination of cooking the potatoes and oil and then putting them into the eggs prior to pouring into the pan and cooking that makes this process really interesting.
                                I watched many videos and saw how the t.e. would set on the bottom quickly and move around the pan easily with shaking it around. Mine did this too, much to my delight!

                              2. re: monavano
                                h
                                Harters Dec 16, 2013 01:40 AM

                                In Spain, there would generally be an instinctive use of olive oil, although probably not extra virgin.

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