Sunday, 27 April 2008

Tortilla: it's all about the lid

I had big plans for cooking last Sunday. I was going to make Minestrone for my lunches, and pumpkin ravioli for our dinner. The minestrone took longer than i expected, and by the time it was ticking away on the stove i couldn't be bothered to make the raviolis. So i decided to do tortilla and salad.

Tortilla is one of our regular stand-bys, like Sag Paneer. It's one of those dishes that define us in a way. Kelsie even included making tortilla in one of her film projects. Anyways, lately i've been having conversations with some of my work mates about how to make tortilla and what can go wrong. I thought i'd document how i do it, and hope it helps.

Here are some tips that i've picked up either from other people or by trial and error:

  • Make sure you use the right proportion of eggs to potatoes and onion. Use way more potatoes and onion than egg. The quantities in the recipe below work with a 9" frying pan. If your pan is smaller or larger, adjust quantities as necessary.

  • Cook the potatoes and onion really slowly. It usually takes about 20 minutes. You don't want them to brown, just to become tender. The longer you cook the onions the sweeter, less oniony they'll taste.

  • It's all about the lid. For perfect tortilla flipping you need a flat lid that is the exact diameter of the pan you're using. In Spain they sell tortilla flipping pan lids. My ma got me the one i use and it works great -- no drips and the tortilla slides back into the pan really easily.

  • When you're flipping the tortilla don't freak out. I know this is a strange tip, but i've found the more you hesitate when you're flipping the tortilla the more chance you have of messing it up. Have faith in your trusted tortilla flipping lid, and go for it!

Tortilla Espanola
800g potatoes, peeled
2 large onions, cut in half and sliced
olive oil
salt and pepper
handful of chopped parsley (optional)
6 eggs

  1. Cut the potatoes into small pieces. Use a paring knife and slice off little chips of the potato. They don't need to be uniform, just more or less the same thickness.

  2. Place the potatoes and onions in your frying pan and add olive oil. I usually make sure the olive oil comes about halfway up the sides of the pan. There should be enough onions and potatoes to fill the pan. Turn the heat on low and cover. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the potatoes and onions are tender. Stir from time to time.

  3. While the onions and potatoes are cooking, put the eggs in a large bowl and beat with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chopped parsley if using.

  4. When the onions and potatoes are ready, drain them and reserve the olive oil. Add them to the eggs and mix well.

  5. Add some of the reserved olive oil to the pan and turn the heat on medium. Add the egg mixture back to the pan and cook until set. Periodically run a knife around the outside edge of the eggs to make sure they're not sticking. You want to cook the eggs until nicely browned.

  6. Flip the tortilla. place the lid on the pan, turn the pan over so the tortilla is sitting on it, and quickly slide back into the frying pan.

  7. Cook until the second side is set and browned. Turn out onto a serving dish and enjoy! Note: we usually serve this with some mayo on the side.

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