Tortilla de Patatas

Called a tortilla but really a frittata, Deborah Madison refers to this egg and potato treat as Tortilla Español. In Catalunya it’s tortilla de patatas. Deborah’s recipe calls for a lot of olive oil – two pounds of sliced potatoes cooked in five tablespoons of olive oil.

Leery of so much oil in spite of eating so many authentic tortilla de patatas with olive oil at full strength, I’m in the middle of a Goldilocks test. This frittata might become a staple, especially in summer with so many eggs and new potatoes – and leftovers being perfect for hiking trips – I’d like to get it just right.

The first time I peeled the potatoes, but just gave the second batch a good scrubbing (they were new potatoes from the farmer’s market with very thin skin). The first time I sliced and parboiled the potatoes a little before adding them to the sautéing onions. Good. The second time I cooked the onions in water, drained well, and added along with the cooked onions to the eggs. Also good. Third time? I plan to try all the olive oil.

The first time I finished the frittata off in the oven, and the results slipped easily out of the pan and looked a golden beauty on the plate. The second time I tried to follow Deborah’s directions by sliding the omelet to a plate once one side was golden brown, and then returning it to the pan to continue cooking. That requires a little more manual dexterity – my puffed perfection was a little cracked. Still good.

Deborah says the olive oil gives the potatoes a “velvety, tender texture.” I’m sure she’s right (and probably an easier slide from the pan), but these attempts both tasted very good.

I like how Deborah describes this most common Spanish snack as “providing a nourishing boost for flagging energy from morning through night.” Wanting to get an early start on a hike, I sliced it into a baguette and made huge and delicious sandwiches for the drive to the trailhead. Next time I’ll buy panini buns – they’d make it easier to keep all that goodness out of our laps.

Oh – and I broke open the tomato preserve – it is exactly what Carmen called “fruit preserve” – rightly so, tomato is a fruit. I sliced it into the sandwiches – perfecto!

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