Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go! Except for us it’s: Into the subway and through the Philadelphia suburbs, to my parents house we go! Yeah okay, it’s a lot less fantastic then the little nursery rhyme, but I still get very excited to see her and my family. It usually revolves around good times, great people and good drinks. Oh and how can I forget about the great food! I think cooking runs in the family or I’m slowly realizing that every family cooks. I mean, everyone has got to eat after all. If that’s the case, I hope everyone has their own amazing cook in their family. In our case, it was both families that had cooks. We were very blessed and today we bring you one of my grandmother’s recipes from Spain, the tortilla.
I should probably introduce my grandmother, shouldn’t I? Rosario is a sweet old lady that comes from the south of Spain in a region called Andalucia. Here is where she met my grandfather, Salvador who was enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the time. Long story short, they married and my mother and uncle were born. They spent some time in Spain and then they moved back to the states where they stayed on the southern coast of New Jersey. She still resides there in the summer and with my parents in the Philadelphia suburbs during the colder months. She’s a pretty cool lady and she cooks very fast. I was actually taken aback by how speedy she moves in the kitchen. In fact, we had to redo some of the pictures we took because we missed the opportunity to take them.
Now you get your scheduled knowledge for the day on the Spanish region, Andalusia. It’s actually a pretty cool area of Spain. You got your sherry, olives and the Black Iberian pigs, plus a whole slew of other agricultural feats. The region is about half of cultivated land and there is major cultural influence in the land still. This causes a sense of pride in all the things grown in the region. This pride translates into the food as well. Every restaurant or bar provides the best of foods, or what they think is the best, putting their all into each dish. However, it is a popular belief that the dirtiest, greasiest bar provides the best tortilla. Although this isn’t a greasy bar, my grandmother’s kitchen still puts out a damn good tortilla.
The tortilla is fairly simple, I think the hardest part is the flipping. Thankfully my dad bought some tortilla pans. They are sold as frittata pans and they have interlocking handles that make a clam shape of sorts. If you don’t have the luxury of these pans, you can use a plate when you flip it over. And it does need to be flipped over! You cannot bake these things, that’s just not how it’s done. The shape will be all wrong. It needs to have the full clam shell shape to be proper. Anyhow, don’t be afraid of flipping the thing. You can do it and it needs confidence to pull off. So muster up courage and just do it already! Also, there is a unique way of cutting the potato. You kind of shave into almost half moon shapes. The reasoning for this is so that the potatoes don’t stack, allowing for even cooking.
Now we kinda use this dish as a way to clear out some veggies that are getting old. You can seriously put anything in this dish but for your first one I highly suggest sticking with the basics. There are very few 5 ingredient dishes in this world that don’t need tinkering with to taste absolutely perfect. My grandmother also scolds me if I put anything else in it other than potatoes an onions, even if I put parsley on top! So we do the basic from time to time because she is right, it’s just that good. It’s also great the next day so don’t feel like you need to eat it all right away. I think its better after sitting and cooling. All the flavors meld or something magical happens. Really can’t explain it. You can eat it by itself, or with a salad with some jamon and a glass of sherry, then you’ll be living the Spanish life.
- 4 Eggs, Beaten
- 1 Onion, Sliced
- 3 Potatoes, Cut in Flat Pieces (See Photo)
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil (NOT Extra Virgin)
Add oil to a nonstick pan (think whatever you would use to make an omelette) on high heat. Cook potatoes and onions in batches until they are just before crispy. Cool potatoes before adding to eggs.
Pour out 1/2 the oil. Add egg mixture to pan on high heat. Lower heat to medium low. Cook until mostly cooked through, then flip over*. Cook until the other side starts to brown. Serve hot or a room temperature.
*There are double pans that interlock that are perfect for the tortilla. If you do not have one (most don't), flip onto a plate and then add back to the pan.
Anyhow, I would like to thank my grandmother for teaching me the proper way of making this dish. She truly is an amazing woman and I love her a lot. She basically takes care of us when we go down tot the shore in the summer and makes sure we are all feed. We now are starting to take over the role in the kitchen, but she is still there always cooking. Stay tuned for a part two next month where we make potaje de alubias (bean stew)with her as well. Its a one pot, pork filled, bean stew of sorts that you eat with an old crusty loaf of bread. very good. Anyhow, enjoy this easy Spanish tortilla and if not there is always this cute grandmother pictures to look at.