When escaping Egypt, think Spain

When escaping Egypt, think Spain

Ben Bridge

A Spanish tortilla is nothing like a Mexican tortilla. In Spain, a tortilla is a thick potato and egg omelet. Tortilla is perfect for Passover because it is parve, and can be made well ahead and served cool or quickly rewarmed for an easy lunch or appetizer.

The most common tortilla uses sliced potatoes and no other vegetables. This variation, which my neighbor Catherine brought home from a study-abroad program in Spain, uses cubed potatoes and adds spinach. It adds a whole additional dimension of flavor and texture that I love. I add a bit of smoked paprika for that hint of campfire flavor.

To make sure your tortilla doesn’t stick, be sure the skillet is at a high temperature when you first add the eggs. This allows the outer layer to form a thin, well-set skin that will come out of the pan easily.

Tortilla de Espinacas — Spanish Omelet with Spinach

Vegetarian, gluten free and kosher

6 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

4 cups peeled and cubed waxy potatoes (about 5 smallish potatoes)

Kosher salt

1/2 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika (or more if you want it to be a pronounced flavor, not just a background hint)

6 eggs, beaten

10 ounces frozen spinach (one standard package), thawed and well drained

For garnish: minced parsley, flaky sea salt

Put the olive oil in a 10” non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the potatoes and 1 teaspoon kosher salt and cook, stirring occasionally until the potatoes begin to soften, but don’t let them brown. Add the onion, garlic and smoked paprika and continue to cook until the potatoes are fully tender but definitely not falling apart.

Stir together the eggs, spinach and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Mix the potatoes into the eggs. Wipe the skillet clean and add a bit more olive oil. Raise the heat to medium high, allow the oil to get quite hot, then add the egg mixture to the skillet.

Allow to cook at this high temperature for about 10 seconds to make sure the outer layer of eggs set instead of stick, then reduce heat to low and cook the tortilla until it is mostly set and bubbles are appearing on the top surface. If it isn’t setting, raise the heat slightly. Remove from the heat and cover with a plate. Working very carefully with oven mitts or towels, flip the tortilla onto the plate and then slide it back into the skillet.

Cook for about 5 more minutes, then once again carefully invert onto a serving plate. Allow to cool and firm up for at least 15 minutes before serving at room temperature, or refrigerate and serve cool, garnished with minced parsley and a bit of flaky sea salt.

Serves 4 as a main course or 8 as an appetizer (tapa).

Local food writer and chef Michael Natkin’s cookbook “Herbivoracious, A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes,” was a finalist in 2013 for a James Beard award. The recipes are based on his food blog, herbivoracious.com.

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