Updated: Oct 15
but I do know how to make one delicious Tortilla de Patata!
All who know me intimately are well aware I do not like to cook. I was never interested in the planning for a meal. Disliked the chopping, the slicing and the dicing.
Taking multiple ingredients; vegetables, herbs, meats, poultry or fish, mix them together, sauté, fry, boil, or bake and have it be edible without forgetting to add salt was challenging for me.
After the birth of my daughter, Candela, it changed. It had to change.
Frying an egg is the most complicated process on a hot skillet full of scorching oil on an open flame. I have been told it is easy. I have seen it done. The crispy Chantilly Lace border, creamy yolk fried egg. Some have tried to teach me. It has been suggested to only use VERY HOT Extra Virgin Olive Oil, not vegetable oil. Hot cooking oil is hot cooking oil to me, the tiniest splatter of it burns the skin, or so I thought. It still burns the skin when hot, but each grade and type of oil gives you a different result. Will blog about the oil subject some other time...
I have been instructed on how to crack an egg on the side of a hot skillet with one whack without compromising the yolk- FAIL. Tiny taps on the brim of the skillet to not have egg shells fall into the pan- EPIC FAIL. Not going to get into how the yolk is not creamy with my multiple attempts. Thus, conclusion- I yet to learn how to fry an egg.
But La Tortilla de Patata is sorcery. It is improvisation with measurements and ingredients. Spatulas dance, plates flip, pans twirl. It is an enchanted process. Also, adding a little love to it does not hurt.
There are hundreds of variations and approaches for La Tortilla de Patata, from the simple home recipe to the Michelin Star bearing Contemporary Chefs homage to a peasant meal, to the Super-Sized monstrosities that bewilder me but amuse tourists. I keep it simple, three basic ingredients: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Eggs, Potatoes and I try to not forget the salt.
HOW I MAKE IT
Prepping is basic, 3 to 4 large potatoes is my preference. Washed, peeled, sliced, more or less evenly. In a deep pot submerge the potatoes in EV Olive Oil over low heat and let them poach slowly. The potatoes should never become crisp, they will lose their moisture. Stir the potatoes occasionally to test their tenderness while poaching. How I know they are ready is when a piece of potato splits open when sticking a fork into them, approximately 30 minutes. If the potatoes crumbled, they were overly poached, but still good to use.
Drain the potatoes in a strainer and let them reach room temperature.
Once room temperature is reached, place the potatoes in a bowl and start cracking eggs. I add them as I see fit, making sure all potatoes are mixed in well with the egg not being too runny.
ADD SALT TO LIKING
This is where the fun begins...
In a non-stick skillet, I use cast iron, either works just fine, pour in a few tablespoons of the olive oil drained from the potatoes. Place over medium to high flame and once heated pour in the mixture. With a wooden spoon or spatula flatten the top and distribute evenly in pan, lower the flame to medium-low. With the back side of a spatula start pressing in the edges towards the center to compact "la tortilla". The pressing has to be continuous all around la tortilla. When some density is reached, this is where all first timers need to build up courage, you need to flip it... with a plate. The plate needs to be a little larger than the pan, place it upside down over the pan, lift the pan from the burner and flip onto plate, then return the uncooked side of the tortilla to the pan.
Continue cooking, an additional 5 to 10 minutes on low heat, swirling it around the pan and Voila!
Not burnt, not runny, compact, moist and delicious.
And still, I do not know how to fry and egg
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