21 April 2009

Putting Local Ingredients to Good Use

The Crown of Maine order through the Food Now! buying club left us with a huge bag of red potatoes and an extra dozen eggs from Sonnental Dairy. Lots of potatoes and eggs is perfect for making a Spanish tortilla, and, as it happened, we needed a something to bring to a potluck brunch.

Tortilla Paisana

  • 1.5 to 1.75 pounds of potatoes, peeled and sliced in a mandolin (say 1/8-inch thick);
  • 8 eggs, whipped (but not too much) in a large bowl;
  • 1 leek, chopped;
  • 12 asparagus stalks, blanched and cut into short segments;
  • 0.5 to 0.75 cups of green peas;
  • 1 red pepper, roasted on the grill, peeled, seeded and diced;
  • 1 small bunch of chives, parsley or whatever fresh herbs seem to fit; and
  • lots of olive oil!
Heat 1 cup or more of the olive oil in a pan capable of containing all the sliced potatoes. You're looking for a heat that will cause a slice of the potato to bubble around its edges but not brown or burn. Add the potatoes and leeks to the oil and cook them until they are tender—about 5 minutes or so. Drain the potatoes, reserving the oil. Heat a few tablespoons of the reserved oil in the pan. While the oil is coming to temperature, mix the potatoes into the eggs with the vegetables, then season with salt and pepper. Turn out the resulting mixture into your pan and let it sizzle over medium high heat for about two minutes. Lower the heat and cook for five more minutes, until the tortilla will separate easily from the edge of the pan and looks like it is browning nicely. Now for the tricky bit. Turn the tortilla by placing a plate over the top of the pan and inverting. This will create something of a mess, but it's unavoidable. Then invert again, using two plates so the raw eggs are facing up on the second plate. Place the pan over the top of the second plate and invert again to turn the tortilla into the pan. Perhaps not the best description, but I'm sure you've had to do this at one point or another. Cook for another five minutes and then turn it out onto a platter.

I've read that these tortillas are sometimes served with gherkins and olives so I made a mixture of niçoise olives, cornichons and diced roasted red pepper. I was skeptical at first but I think this adds just the missing element to the tortilla. A highly recommended accompaniment.


Unknown said...

That looks really tasty! How thick was it? Did you have any leftovers?

Brad said...

It was about two inches thick, and I've seen pictures of them quite thick. It was gobbled up pretty quickly.

Kate. said...

that looks so beautiful! and if you really have a mandolin to slice your veggies on, i'll be jealous! (i actually had a dream that i owned one- nerd!)

Brad said...

Thanks, Kate. As to the mandolin, I don't have a proper fancy looking french one, but the Benriner is a real champ and costs all of $24.00. Actually, I'm pretty sure you can pick one up at Sun Market for $20.00 or less.

Ken Walden said...

Ah, great, Brad. You know everyone wanted this recipe, so I'll pass the link along.