Tuesday, 22 January 2008

The Great Tortilla Disaster

Tortilla is one of my absolute favourite Spanish foods - we're not talking about little Mexican pancake thingies here, we are discussing 2-inch thick slabs of egg, potato, and optionally, onion. When I have the time, I like to go to a café mid-morning and have a Chunk & a Hunk (chunk of tortilla, hunk of bread), washed down with café con leche (coffee with leech milk). You can buy ready-made tortillas in supermarkets, but they bear about as much resemblance to the real thing as British salad cream does to mayonnaise.

Last week, BetterArf had a brainwave: she ordered a whole tortilla from a café that she frequents near her work. This thing was a work of art. It was absolutely perfect. The outside was firm and golden, the inside moist and almost-but-not-quite runny. It lasted us for three days. This morning I dreamed of that tortilla, and decided that I should really learn how to do it. I have tried making tortillas a couple of times before (although not in Spain), and the results have been edible but not remarkable.

I went out and got half a dozen eggs, and then dug out this article by Left Banker. His 3 pounds of spuds seemed excessive to me, so I did mine with a pound and a half. Also, I like my tortillas con cebolla (with onion), and so I added that. I had been worrying a bit about the plate for flipping the tortilla - all of our dinner plates are square and I suspected this would lead to some messy leakage. But the suggestion of using a pan-lid seemed good. I dug out a lid that was a perfect fit for our small Teflon-coated frying pan.

So, all set, off we go. Everything went well until I had to turn it. I placed the pan lid atop the frying pan, inverted the pan and lid, and then tried to slide the tortilla back into the pan. At this point I realised ('Houston, tenemos un problema') - the tortilla could not slide over the rim of the pan lid. It tripped, dribbled and glollopped over, spilling a good dollop of hot gloop onto my wrist - yes it hurt, and I'll have a blister later - and some more onto the worktop and floor. What went back into the pan was a broken mess. Damn. I tried to re-shape it, and then had another go at turning it, this time using a square plate. It was almost impossible to hold the plate in place, so there was a bit more gloop escape, but thankfully no more third-degree burns.



Ah well, it looks a mess, but it tastes ok.



Although next time I might omit the onion, and maybe let the potatoes cool once they've been sauteed. And get a circular dinner plate or a much-despised tortilla-turner.

7 comments:

Tom said...

it sounds outlandish but you can actually make a tortilla with crisps. Seriously. My mother in law (who is an excellent cook, by the way) has tried it a few times after seeing one of the TV chefs do it, and they came out alright. I'll scout around for the recipe.

Your tortilla looks OK and quite yummy.

Katie said...

still looks tasty! i haven't yet attempted a proper tortilla de patata, but i attempted one with a whole load of veggies thrown and it stuck to the pan. seems to be the biggest problem besides having the proper plate/pot lid.

keil said...

K-boy use a plate instead of the pan lid. That's my magic trick! Cover the pan with a plate and shake the pan a bit so the tortilla wouldn't stick. Then flip that thing around on top of the plate and ya está! But make sure it's not too watery or what would slide back into the pan would be a fantastic wrapped omelet :)

I can give you our recipe if you'd like if you haven't given up yet.

MamaDuck said...

Note from Chief Taster: It looked a whole lot better than he thinks, and tasted terrific! Please Keefieboy, can I have some more?!

Keefieboy said...

tom: crisps? Weird...
katie: veggies? Weird...
keil: recipe? Yes please...
mamaduck: more? Buy some eggs...

dubaibilly said...

I will, of course, be expecting you to perfect this recipe by Chrimbo 2010! But shall go out to try some in Barcelona in eight days time!

leftbanker said...

I like the tortilla with crisps idea (potato chips where I'm from--or used to be from). I also like to make them with calabacin (sorry, I can't spell zucchini) but prefer patatas.