As a half Spaniard, I should be expected to cook as such too. Except that I don’t, really. Give me Chorizo and Jamón Serrano any day, and I’ll eat it like a native. But making a tortilla, or croquetas or paella? I haven’t quite been ready yet. But hey, never one to waste an occasion to try (away from the inquisitive eyes of said Spanish family), I managed my first ever tortilla (with help) the other day.
Now I wish I could be a little more specific with ingredients, but it is one of those things you have to “feel”. If the pan is full, don’t add more potatoes, and if you like it runnier, add more egg. You can check recipes online if you need more details.
potatoes (depending on size of pan, between 4 and 7)
eggs (depending on size of pan and desire for runniness, between 4 and 6)
paprika, pepper and salt
pan and lid/plate
First, peel the potatoes and wash them in a bowl. Then slice them. Now, some people make big long slices, others chop smaller, squarer bits. Do it as you like, or shop around online for different types of tortilla to see which one you like best (trust me, EVERYONE does it differently).
Depending on which region in Spain, or family traditions, cooking time, thickness and consistency vary. Basques for example tend to make slimmer tortillas with slightly more egg and which are cooked for a shorter period of time, making the tortilla more runny and easier to eat with bread. Others make them really thick, and cook them a lot longer.
Chop the onion. If you don’t like too much, only use half or three quarters.
Choose a pan of your preferred size. Pour the mixture in the pan and check if it fits. If the pan isn’t full, you can add some more, or just choose to make a thinner tortilla. Put the lot back in a bowl and pour olive oil in the pan, make it about half full. Start heating.
When the oil starts to sizzle, add the mixture carefully. Watch it like a hawk; because you don’t want anything to burn, you just want it to brown nicely. Use a spatula or big spoon to turn everything, so that the stuff on top gets to go in the oil.
While that’s cooking, break the eggs into a bowl. Add the paprika, salt and pepper then whisk very fast using a fork. You want the egg to have some air in it so it’s “lighter”. Bubbles should appear on the egg mix surface.
When the potatoes and onions have browned, use a strainer to pour the oil into a small bowl before putting the mixture in with the eggs. Mix very carefully so as not to break the potatoes too much.
Put the pan back on the fire and add a spoonful of oil. It needs to be just enough to coat the pan so the mixture doesn’t stick to it. When it’s hot (which will be quickly as the pan should still be hot), pour the potatoes and eggs mix in. Keep moving/shaking the pan a little so the egg doesn’t stick too much.
When it looks like the bottom half is cooked enough, grab the lid or plate. Now comes the hard part. You need to cover the pan (best is to have a lid or plate that fits in the pan, so egg doesn’t start dripping from the sides) and then flip it upside down so the soon-to-be-tortilla is on the plate/lid.
Again, put a little oil back in the pan and gently reinsert the tortilla into the pan. Use a spatula to slowly push it back in and also to sort out any problems that may have arisen (potatoes trying to run for their lives, egg all over the place etc.). Cook until golden and then flip back onto the plate ready to serve.
And your tortilla is done! Eat with cooked ham, chorizo or Spanish ham. Enjoy whenever, wherever!