Saturday, 14 February 2009

Tortilla de Patatas

I posted about my early attempts at making this classic Spanish staple here and here.

A year later, I reckon I'm an expert, so here's how you do it.

You will need:
8 or 9 eggs
about half a kilo of spuds, peeled and sliced thinly
a generous pinch of salt
50% olive oil, 50% vegetable oil
possibly some lemon juice
a proper non-stick 20 cm frying pan
a circular dinner plate
45 - 60 minutes

And here's what you do:
Half fill the pan with the oil. Heat it gently. Put the spuds in the oil, and stir to make sure they are all coated. The idea is to soften the spuds without browning them. It will take about half an hour, and you need to give them a stir every now and again. When the potatoes are cooked, remove them from the oil. If you don't expect to eat the tortilla all in one go, you can sprinkle lemon juice on them - this will stop them from going grey over the next few days (there's nothing wrong with the spuds in your tortilla going grey - it just doesn't look very appetising).

Break your eggs into a bowl, throw in the salt, and beat with a whisk or fork until the egg whites and yolks are thoroughly mixed. Add the potatoes and stir.

Drain most of the oil from the pan, leaving a thin coating. Turn up the heat a little (about 60% of full), and pour the egg and potato mixture in. When the mixture has begun to set, pull the edges away from the pan with a spatula - you're trying to get a rounded shape to the edge of the tortilla.

Now we come to the tricky bit - turning it over. Traditionally this is done by holding an oiled dinner plate against the top of the pan, and turning them over. In Spain, you can buy a thing called a vuelca de tortilla, basically a plastic lid with a knob on one side for holding it.

Once you have the tortilla on the plate, slide it back into the pan and continue cooking and shaping the edge. Turn it two more times, so each side gets cooked twice, and when you have a nice golden colour on both sides, you're done.

It's important not to overcook the tortilla. I prefer ones that still have a little bit of runniness in the centre, but more sensitive souls prefer them to be cooked solid. Let it cool for a bit, and then cut yourself a wedge and serve with a hunk of crunchy baguette and a caffe con leche. Perfect!


Abu Dhabi/UAE Daily Photo said...

Sounds wonderful...I love it w/ a summer pisto served cold! I wonder if using a cast iron pan is better for this or now. Any thoughts?

Keefieboy said...

Photo: no, a well-seasoned cast-iron skillt would be just about perfect (used to have one on Dubai but we binned it 'cos it was too heavy to ship). Although pretty heavy to turn over...

the real nick said...

Aha. You boil the patatas in oil! I would parboil them in salt water like for making chips. I'll try the oil but I know the wife will protest loudly.

alexander... said...

Photo! Photo! Fat Expat! Fat Expat!

Keefieboy said...

TNR: don't tell her!

Alexander: patience - will take some photos next time I make one.

Troy said...

Some would call it sacrilege here in Spain, but I got the following tip from one of Spain's top chefs...

In a rush and don't have oil laying around?

Use Crips/Chips.

Sounds crazy and indeed the final product is quite different, but ever so much faster!

Last but not least, to take the sacrilege that much further...rather than potatoes, try your left over pasta, sauce and all! Great way to use up that leftover pasta that you know will sit in your fridge till it turns blue.