Thursday, August 27, 2009

Wednesday Brunch: Tortilla de Patatas


Today's Wednesday Brunch is a dish that normally wouldn't appeal to me, and is pretty out of the ordinary for me to even have made. The tortilla de patatas, to start, is nothing like the corn- or flour-based Mexican flatbread that comes to mind when you hear the word. I first came across this dish when browsing Wikipedia's list of egg dishes, which is full of fascinating articles about bizarre, foreign egg-based concoctions. All of which, for me, send the wheels turning and get me wondering what I should cook next.

The tortilla de patatas is basically an omelet with potatoes in it, but the flavor profile is a little more complex and compelling than that, because the olive oil that the thinly-sliced potatoes are cooked in permeates them, and in turn infuses the egg with all kinds of rich, olive oil-y flavor. Which, for me, is a treat, but not one I'd be into having on a regular basis, just because I don't tend to eat potatoes with any regularity. I like them in certain preparations and dishes, but they don't seem to find their way into my cooking too frequently.


To start out, fry up a single, medium-size white potato, thinly sliced. Use just a tad more olive oil than you think you need (which should be just enough to coat the pan and fry up the potatoes, anyway). The potatoes will sponge up most of it, and you're not using very much EVOO either way, so it's okay. (On a side note, doesn't EVOO just remind you of WALL-E's love interest EVA now? Well, maybe it's just me.) When your potatoes are a little crisped up, remove them and pat them dry.


Then mix them up with 2-3 beaten eggs, and freshly grind some black pepper into your mixture. I'm assuming you're making a portion for two people, so adjust as necessary--for this recipe, you're going to end up with 1.5 eggs/person, which is a perfectly respectable amount of egg, I think. I usually make 1-egg omelets (but really stretch them with other ingredients, as with the Gaeran tost-u a couple weeks back), but if you go out to a restaurant, you're going to be eating 2 or, often, 3 egg-omelets, the latter of which is a lot of egg, I think. Anyway, all of this is to simply say that a 1.5 egg portion per person is a filling, but not overly large portion, I think.

Okay, so with all of that ready, cook your omelet in the remaining olive oil. Cook through on one side, then flip and cook on the remaining side. If you're feeling really adventurous, follow Wikipedia's advice for transitioning between cooking each side of the omelet:

This is done with the help of a plate or a "vuelve-tortillas" (a ceramic lid-like utensil made for this particular purpose), or by tossing it in the air and catching it again in the pan if it is not too big.

Pretty cool! I'd like to say that I threw the omelet into the air with a reckless glint in my eye, but if that were the case, I probably wouldn't have a picture of the finished product for you to look at.


Here's the finished product, which kind of reminds me of Momofuku Milk Bar's Volcano. Well, pictures of it. I've never
actually had it, but it looks pretty wild. Anyway, just slice up your tortilla de patatas and enjoy!


You know, when you stop and think about it, when you eat this dish, you're actually really just eating a pretty traditional diner breakfast of eggs and home fries, but combined into one dish for an interesting twist. I think that's pretty fascinating, how certain dishes share common attributes, and maybe common thought processes behind them, as well.

Enjoy your brunch!


Thanks for stopping by Beach City Cooking, and I'll see you all tomorrow for another edition of Thrifty Thursdays! Have a great night, and stay cool!

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