My tapas cookbooks have been on my coffee table for the last six months. I'm dying to throw a tapas party again. Up until three years ago, I would host a yearly White Elephant party every December. Yes, it was about celebrating Christmas, about friends gathering and laughing and seeing who got the biggest gift and who brought the funniest White Elephant. But most importantly, it was about the FOOD! The parties were themed -- a different cultural experience every year. By far, my most successful was Spain and tapas!
Last Saturday morning, I was sitting on my sofa sipping my nice hot quad-shot nonfat latte made with my lovely, still newish Kitchenaid Pro Line Espresso Maker (more on that lovely another time) and the tapas cookbook was sitting there. Staring at me. Taunting me. You see, I hadn't had breakfast yet and here it was already 11am.
I picked up the cookbook, flipped it open and it landed on the gorgeous photo of a Tortilla Española. Now, being from Southern California and just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Mexican border, I grew up thinking that the tortillas I had been eating all my life were Spanish in origin. "Tortilla" to me was the flatbread – made of stone ground corn or flour – that we ate at every meal. But my first tapas experience taught me otherwise as I found that the Spanish tortilla was actually an omelet much in the same vein as an Italian fritatta.
Even the casual reader of my blog can tell by now that a) I love eggs and b) that I've never met a potato I didn't like. Tortillla Española is three ingredients: eggs, potatoes and onions. Can you say "Heaven?"
The recipe in my cookbook is enough to serve 12, tapas style. Since obviously I was eating alone and whatever I made would most likely be lunch and quite possibly dinner as well as my breakfast, the thought of that much egg and potato was a bit frightening. Yes, even this egg and potato lover has her limits. But the recipe was easily modified as basically 3 eggs to a potato. So that's what I did. Making the entire recipe should create a lovely 1/2" thick tortilla. Mine, as you can see, was about 1/3" in thickness. But being short on thickness didn't mean it was short on taste. A simple, uncomplicated, yummy eggy potatoey goodness (Ohmy! I'm making up my own words now! That's how much I loved this recipe!)
5 large peeled potatoes, thinly and evenly sliced
2 large onions, thinly sliced
Heat a large skillet with olive oil until nearly smoking. Starting with the potatoes place a single layer down, then the onions alternating until all of the potatoes and onions are in the pan. Lower the heat to medium and cook them until tender flipping occasionally and being careful not to brown. While they are cooking, whisk the eggs together in a large bowl. When the potatoes and onions are ready, remove from the pan and wipe it clean. It's crucial that there is no residual bits in the pan that might make the tortilla stick (I had to scour mine quickly). Place the cooked potato mixture into the eggs and toss well to coat. Let stand for 15 min. Put olive oil in the pan and heat. When pan is ready, pour egg mixture back into pan, using a spatula to push the potatoes down into the egg throughout the cooking process. Use a knife to keep the tortilla loose and away from the edge of the pan. Constantly shake the pan to keep the tortilla from sticking. When the the bottom of the tortilla is golden brown and set, place a large plate on top and flip the tortilla onto the plate. Quickly wipe the pan clean, add a little more oil and carefully slide the tortilla back into the pan to finish cooking off the top of the tortilla. Cook for no more than 3 minutes at this point. You don't want it overly browned like the "crust" side, you just want it a bit of crispness. When ready, place plate back on top of the pan and flip it out. Let stand. Traditionally, this is served at room temperature and sliced into pizza-like wedges. I enjoyed mine with a raspberry mimosa. OK, so not traditional for tapas fare but damn good combination anyway!
YOUR TURN: What's your favorite theme for entertaining?