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Chef John Simmons prepares Potato and Onion Tortilla a la Espanola
Tags:Tortilla A La Espanola recipe,spanish tortilla,tortilla a la espanola,cheflive,john simmons,tapas
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Next, we’re going to make a Tortilla a la Espanola. This is a traditional Spanish dish. First thing I want to do, get your pan nice and hot. You need a big sauté pan. The reason it’s called a tortilla is not because it’s like a Mexican tortilla kind of a thing but it’s shaped like a tortilla. It’s actually more of like a kind of an omelet.
I’m going to slice up some onions. Just one onion is fine, one like medium-sized onion. This dish makes a great appetizer snack kind of a food or you can have it as a meal. And you can make it ahead which is nice so I love that kind of stuff because then when you have your dinner party, everybody starts showing up. You’re not in the kitchen all you got to do is serve the food.
So this is going to take a lot of olive oil but don’t be scared. I got a hot pan. I’m using regular oil. This is actually extra virgin but any kind of olive oil is okay. I like to use a nicer olive oil because it gives a little bit of flavor. I’m going to sauté these onions just basically I’m almost kind of poaching them. Cooking it slow, I don’t want to get any color on them. All this oil is going to be gone so I’m just kind of like poaching the onions in the oil and then we’re going to drain the oil. Perfect.
Next step, I’ve got potatoes. This is one of those kinds of dishes that I love to because you can really vary it like it doesn’t have to be exactly the recipe. You don’t have to measure every single thing and go to the grocery store and buy like 20 different items and then you don’t use half of them and so they sit in the refrigerator and you forget about them and then like a month later they’re blue and you have to throw it away. You can use like any kind of like different meats or vegetables or even like leftover kind of stuff and incorporate it into the dish.
I’ve thin sliced these potatoes. And we’re going to poach these along with the onions. Just kind of slow cook them until they’re opaque. I’m going to use three potatoes kind of have to vary it to the size of the pan. You want it full but not too full. Actually, I think two potatoes is going to do it for this pan. So we’re just going to slow cook that kind of extract all the flavor into that oil and then I’m going to use that oil to make a nice aioli sauce. So, pretty much when everything kind of submerged and simmering a little bit, you don’t want it to get brown.
I’m going to season that with some black pepper and salt, just a little bit. And I’m going to throw in a couple of gloves of garlic, just one of like smash this guy and then rough chop it. You could vary the garlic and the pepper according to your taste. And I know maybe you’re thinking too like, “Wow, all that olive oil” and then he’s just going to drain it and throw it away like extra virgin olive oil. That stuff is expensive but we’re going to use it because it’s got all that flavor in there from all the vegetables and because we don’t want to waste money.
So there I got garlic, onions and potatoes are simmering nicely in some beautiful olive oil. We’re going to cook these just until the potatoes and the onions get translucent which I will show you when that point arrives.
In the meantime, we’re going to get ready to make our aioli. Aioli is basically it’s a homemade mayonnaise. It’s a kind of thickened sauce. I know most people like in America they think of mayonnaise and they think of like for sandwiches. But, it’s actually a nice dressing. It’s olive oil which is suspended with a lemon or vinegar, salt and pepper and it makes it a really nice sauce and you can kind of vary the flavors too.
The way I’m going to do it for this dish. I’ve got some of these oven-fried tomatoes which you can buy in most specialty stores or if you don’t have these, you can reconstitute some sun-dried tomatoes work really nicely. I’ll put a little bit of that in the container here. A little bit of garlic, you go like half of clove.
Again, I’m going to put some black pepper and a little bit of salt. Then, I’m going to throw in the juice of a couple of lemons. Keep an eye on your vegetables. You don’t want them starting to fry. Juice of two lemons is good. As you could see my potatoes here are starting to get light so you could see through. I don’t know if you could see that or not but you could see the light coming through. That’s about the point where we want to be.
I’ve got this beautiful strainer here. We’re going to take the oil out. Now, be careful the oil is hot. It will burn you. And we’re just going to put some of the oil in here just to get it started. My emulsion, this is called an emulsion sauce, this is aioli. And I have a little emulsion blender. This works great. You can also use a food processor or a standup blender is fine.
I forgot the most important ingredient, eggs. We need three whole eggs. Throw those in there. The eggs are going to help it to bind and make it thick like mayonnaise. So as you could see it’s really loose right now but as it starts to bind with the eggs it’s going to turn thick like a mayonnaise and that’s the sauce we’re going to use. And it’s also going to have that nice tomato flavor in there. I’m going to put my other lemon.
Now, I’m going to continue to add olive oil. This oil from this dish is probably going to be a little bit hot. If you want to use that you would want to strain it, put in the cooler for a while. Otherwise, I’m going to break my sauce here so I’m going to use this thing. Get the idea now. Slowly add the olive oil in and the mixture will start to get thick. The mixture will start to get kind of thick. Beautiful!
So this is like kind of a homemade mayonnaise. You can make a little batch of this stuff; keep in the refrigerator. It’s great for a dip, for fresh vegetables or just spread for sandwiches or hamburgers or ice cream, whatever your taste happens to be. I’m going to check that out for seasoning. I’ll only put a little salt and pepper. That’s good. It’s got a lot of garlic in there. It’s got the tomato and it’s got the flavors from all the onion and the potato, the one stuff that we use in here so we’re not throwing away the flavors. That’s going to be our sauce that we’re going to use.
I’m going to continue to drain this oil and let’s see. You could save this oil. Again, if you’re not going to use it right away and you can like brush it on bread when you grill the bread or you can save it on the refrigerator for dipping like maybe with a little bit of balsamic vinegar. But I don’t like to throw stuff like that away especially when you spend so much time putting flavor into it.
So now, I have all my strained vegetables here. What I’m going to do next is get a whole mass of eggs. I’m going to heat my pan back up. You want to keep some of the oil in there for the flavor. We’re going to fluff up these eggs. Basically what this is, is more of an omelet. Like I said the reason that the Spanish people call it a tortilla, it’s because it’s shaped like a tortilla. You want to just about double it in volume. I’m going to throw some salt and pepper in there.
So this is like 20 eggs. Again, the recipe will tell you exactly the size of pan and everything to use and the quantities but for this size pan I thought that this would be a good amount. You could kind of eye-ball it.
Now I’ve got this stuff flakes simmering again and add in my egg to the potato to cover it. Now you want to get it nice and hot so that the bottom doesn’t stick although it shouldn’t have plenty of oil on it. And just kind of get it going until the sides start to boil a little bit then we’re going to throw it in the oven for about 20 minutes just until it sets up. Now like I said, you can, if you have some extra sausage of luncheon meat or ham or cheese, you could throw that all on top. It’s very versatile recipe, you can use a lot of different stuff on it.
When you see that the sides are kind of starting to stiffen up a little bit then we’re going to throw it in the oven. A low oven, like about 300º and I want to cook it about 20 minutes. You’ll be able to tell just when the very center is set up. So this is a good point right here. I’m going to throw that in the oven like so.
Now rather than wait to 20 minutes, I’m going to show you how we serve this dish. At the restaurant, I make it in a big pan and really thick so it’s kind of sexier but when it comes out it looks pretty modest. I could collect a big batch because we go through a lot of these.
As you can see, it was like this in the pan. I had a lot on my layers of potato. I fill it up with the egg. It was in a big square pan so here’s the corner and then what you do is you flip it up side down like bunk and it comes out then you let it sit up. You got to let it sit and come to about room temperature then you could cut it into squares. And you could be creative with that too. You could cut in different shapes.
It’s kind of a neat little dish and they stand up really tall. It’s best served at room temperature and they kind of melt in your mouth. Let’s serve on this plate. If you want it a little bit warmer I guess you could just pop it in the microwave for five seconds. If you put in the refrigerator overnight, for example.
So now, they’re do ahead-dish. I wouldn’t make this the day before but you can make it a few hours before your party. Now, these are great because they could be passed. Stick a little toothpick in there. I’m going to garnish it with a little bit our aioli sauce, some great tomato aioli, just a little notch in each one. This is just like I said the typical Spanish tapa and you’ll find for every Spanish tapas’ place, there’s a different recipe and people argue about who’s recipe is better. Of course, we all know mine is the best.
I’m just going to sprinkle that with some parsley. So you could take like a varied kind of modest dish. It’s basically like potato and onion omelet and you could sex it up and make it ready to serve at a restaurant or something sexy for your cocktail party.
These are just roasted red peppers, just something to give it a little bit of color. You could buy these on a jar, that’s all I buy. I don’t make them myself. Some things are not worth making yourself and for me, roasted red peppers are wonderful. There we have Potato and Onion Tortilla a la Espanola.