2 August 2010

Spanish Food - Tortilla

Spanish tortilla ~ probably one of Spain's most famous recipes. There has been quite a lot of argument over "how to make the perfect tortilla" see last weeks comments in the Guardian to get an idea. Ask any Spaniard and they will tell you that there is no "perfect" way... why? Well its all down to how grandma used to make it, generations ago when even then there was no perfect recipe. Since then onions have been added, green peppers etc - all very debatable but surely its down to flavour no?

Does it really matter if we don't have the perfect tortilla? Like paella the humble Spanish omelette has been subject to a long running game of foodie chinese whispers, somebody one day threw in some serrano ham and all hell broke loose because it wasn't "authentic", Its all in the flavour amigo, all in the flavour. Cooking methods also vary, do you finish off under the grill or not. Wait! grill that tortilla if you dare I want mine authentic, a thin layer of runny eggs never hurt anyone...

The fact is Spanish omelette is one of those recipes which, unless you drop it and decorate the kitchen tiles ready for Fido to gorge himself on will turn out fine, taste great and feed the guests and family, the addition of ingredients that were never present generations ago when Mama used to make tortilla are surely not a bad thing but an experiment in flavour which is what food should be about, we can allways make the authentic version should one be found later. Spain, by her own self admission is a land of very simple food and recipes, a good platform perhaps for a little experimentation here and there...

Breaking the rules: Ham and vegetable tortilla (just don't tell anyone)


2 medium potatoes
1 medium onion
1 small red pepper
1 small green pepper
100g diced Serrano ham
8 eggs
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to season


1. Peel and finely slice the onion and potatoes. Dice the peppers into quite small pieces.

2. In a large heavy based non stick frying pan heat the olive oil, you will need about 200ml.

3. Add the onions and potatoes and then turn down the heat to its lowest setting. Cook for about 10 minutes until they begin to soften stirring occasionally so the onions and potatoes don't brown. Then add the peppers and continue to cook for a further 10-15 minutes until all the vegetables are soft. Add the ham and cook for 5 minutes more.

4. Meanwhile beat the eggs in a large bowl with a little salt and pepper to season.

5. Remove the ingredients from the pan with a slotted spoon and add to the eggs, mix well. Carefully pour away most of the oil into a bowl and set aside (you may need more later) Leave just a light covering of oil in the pan.

6. Pour the egg mixture back into the pan and leave to cook on a very low heat for about 10 minutes. You can go round the edge with a knife to make sure the mixture is not sticking.

7. After 10 minutes or so (the omelette should be firm on the bottom and starting to cook through to the top), place a large plate or specialist tortilla flipper over the pan and very carefully turn the pan over. Lift off the pan and add more oil if necessary. Then slide the omelette back into the pan to cook the other side (careful of hot oil)

8. Cook the other side for a further 10 minutes or so until it is cooked right through. You may need to repeat the flipping process again.

9. Once the omelette is cooked through, flip again and place on a serving plate to rest.

10. The tortilla can be served warm or cold and is great served cut into little squares for tapas or in larger slices if eating as a main meal

It was grilled for a minute, its not authentic, we were just hungry.

Whats your version of the Spanish tortilla?



goodshoeday said...

Well to be authentic here it has to be made in my special double tortilla pan that i got in a Spanish supermarket when i was on holiday and just had to bring it back home.
I LOVE tortilla :)

Orce Serrano Hams said...

Goodshoeday: Thanks for passing by, those double tortilla pans are the business. I take you make good old tortilla de patatas? Firm favourite here too, hot or cold.