Thursday, July 24, 2008

Eating Vermont Part 3: Tortilla de Papas

All year I somehow forget that Spanish tortillas are one of my favorite things to make and eat. But every summer when I'm Vermont, staring down new potatoes, green garlic, still dirty onions and eggs fresh from the chicken, it practically takes more effort to not make one.

First I brown three half-inch thick slices of onion, turn them, and do the same on the other side. Why so particular about what is to become the bottom of the tortilla? It's just such a nice surprise when you finally carve it up.

Meanwhile, I'm steaming cubed potatoes. My rule of thumb is one potato to every two eggs per person. When the onions are brown on both sides and the potatoes are soft, I dump them in. Keeping the heat high, I then pour on the egg, herb and splash of milk mixture. I let this go until I'm worried that it's burning, then transfer to a pre-heated broiler. I let that go until it's gorgeous, then finish in a warm oven until it's firm to the poke. Then an impressive flip between two plates, salt and pepper, and you're in business.


Recipe: Spanish Tortilla de Papas (aka friattata or thick potato omelette)

eggs (2 per person)
splash of milk
potatoes (1 per person)
half of one onion (still dirty)
three cloves of garlic
a substantial amount of olive oil (3.5 tablespoons?)

NOTE: You need an iron skillet, that magical device that can pass from range to broiler to oven and only be better for it.

Brown the onions and garlic in olive oil while steaming the cubed potatoes. Once the potatoes are soft and relatively drained, add them. Pour in eggs whisked with a splash of milk and any fresh herbs you have on hand. Keep it hot and covered. Once you're afraid that it might be burning, transfer to a hot broiler. Broil until puffy and golden brown. Gently press the top, and if it yields too much, finish in the oven until firm.

Remove, cover with an upside down plate, and flip so that the tortilla transfers from skillet to plate. Cover it with another upside down plate, flip again, and now it's facing right side up. Let set. Slice into wedges. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Remember the onions.

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