We have so much to catch up on. You're out in barbeque land making art and changing the world. I'm here in NYC plugging away at this job where people ask me questions like I actually KNOW something, and I have to go around all day repeating the serenity prayer to remind myself I have no control over other people as much as I might pretend I do. I've been meaning to tell you about some especially thrilling meetings I've got about some writing projects and share my excitement about this little film I did making its premiere at SXSW in March. And I want to hear about your previews, about learning a new scene in the afternoon and performing it at night. And how you've been managing with just a hot plate. Oh, there's so much to talk about!
But instead I feel compelled to put all that aside to tell you about my new love. I know you won't judge my priorities.
It's called a tortilla, although I don't really get why*, since it looks more like a frittata to me and I've always known a tortilla to be a round flat piece of wheat or corn bread product that you stuff delicious things in. But then I don't pretend to be as culturally sensitive or knowledgeable in the kitchen as I am when I'm wearing my social work hat. Mostly I just make things that I know will taste good, and then I eat them. And man, is this one up my alley.
It's eggs, but it's really more about the potatoes and onions and olive oil, which let's face it, is really how I like my eggs--more as a conduit for vegetables, meats, cheeses, or sugar, than the star of the show. Its a breakfast food, a late night tapas snack, a perfectly portable lunch, and pile up a few greens slicked with a nice tart dressing and you've got a perfectly satisfying dinner. And did I mention you can make it ahead of time and serve it at room temperature? Which also makes it the perfect thing to serve for a brunch with friends. And it's cheap! So cheap! Oh, the reasons to make this are endless. The only reason not to, as I can see it, is if you live anywhere near The Commons and can buy a slice of their Tortilla Espa˜ola, which while it pains me to say it, is far superior to my homemade version. But give me time. I've only just begun cycling this through my repetoire and I have big plans for my next shot at it.
Some advice for trying this at home:
- Salt is your friend, but it's eggs' soulmate. Use it liberally, at every stage.
- Maybe it's not authentic, but tossing in whatever other veggies you have lying around couldn't hurt. They'll just benefit from the silky, creamy, unctuous treatment they'll get from slow-cooking with a ton of olive oil and potatoes.
- Be bold. The only hard part of this recipe is making the necessary flip, though some versions I came across say a broiler is perfectly fine to finish it off. But I say go for it. It feels pretty damn good when you get it right.
Break a leg tonight! I can't wait to hear how it goes. When I'm able to pull myself away from my new Spanish obsession, let's talk.
adapted by the Mouse from various recipes...
1.5 cups oil
2.5 pounds yukon gold potatoes, peeled, quartered and sliced thinly (like 1/3 in thick)
2.5 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon coarse salt
10 large eggs
lots of salt and pepper
Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and add potatoes and onion along with a hefty sprinkling of salt. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently and carefully, until vegetables are very tender but not colored, about 30 minutes. Lift veggies out of the oil with a slotted spoon, letting excess oil drip off. Pour off oil left in pan and set aside. Alternately, you can transfer them into a colander over a bowl and drain for a few minutes. Lightly beat eggs in a large bowl and add salt and a few cracks of pepper. Add the potato and onion mixture to the eggs and season again.
Return 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil to skillet and add mixture, pressing potatoes flush with eggs. Cook over low heat, covered, 12 to 15 minutes, or until almost set. Turn off heat and let stand for a few minutes. Shake skillet gently to make sure tortilla is set on bottom and not sticking to skillet. Slide tortilla onto plate. Cover it with skillet and invert tortilla back into skillet. Round edge with a rubber spatula and cook over low heat, 15 minutes more, or until set. Slide tortilla onto a serving plate and let cool for a few minutes before slicing into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature, or really however you like.
*Sure, I could do some research, but why bother when I know one of our know-it-all readers will happily jump-to and educate me in the comments? :)