Saturday, May 1, 2010

Noche de Espana

Last night we had our friends Anndee and Daren over for dinner. They visited Spain last summer, where I studied abroad in college, so we decided to have a Spanish feast. We had a Spanish tortilla, paella, Serrano ham, and Manchego cheese. It was absolutely delicioso!

I spent a summer during college studying abroad in Seville, Spain. It is a beautiful city in the southern region of Spain, also know as Andalusia. While there, I lived with a sweet Spanish woman and her young daughter, along with two other students from Texas Tech (she was our mama while we were there). Our Spanish mama would cook meals for us every day, many being authentic Spanish dishes. My favorite dish she made was a Spanish tortilla. I also loved her fresh fruit juices and paella.

Many people assume Spanish food is like Mexican or other Latin foods, with the same spiciness and flavors. But Spanish food is very different from Mexican food. It usually is not spicy, and I think it has more of a Mediterranean influence (at least in southern Spain).

A Spanish tortilla is in no way like a Mexican tortilla (other than the fact that it is round). It is similar to a quiche (without the crust), or a frittata. It is made with eggs usually mixed with some vegetables like potatoes or asparagus, or even meat. Last night my tortilla had potatoes and chives. Here is the recipe:


  • 8 eggs
  • 3 small baking potatoes sliced into about 1/4 in. pieces
  • about 1/4 c. chopped chives
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • salt and pepper
Heat olive oil in frying pan over medium heat. Add potatoes, chives, and garlic. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (until potatoes are soft). In separate bowl, stir eggs, salt, and pepper. Pour into pan with other ingredients, making sure potatoes are spread evenly across pan. Let sit at medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. Eggs should set in bottom of the pan. Next, get a spatula and begin to loosen eggs from sides of pan. Place a plate (larger than the pan), over the pan. Flip the pan over so that the cooked side of the eggs faces up. Then return tortilla to pan, this time with the cooked side up. Cook for another 3-5 minutes or until eggs are set. Then place on dish and cut into wedges.

It can be pretty difficult to flip your tortilla (I spilled a little of the eggs when I did it). The most important thing is to have a plate larger than your pan. My plate was about the same size as my pan. Next time I think I will use a smaller pan with a large plate so that it will flip with the plate better. I have seen some recipes where instead of flipping it, they will put it in the oven for a little bit. This could be a good way to do it, but when my Spanish mama showed us how she makes hers, she did the flip, so I like to make it that way! This is a great dish, and you can make so many variations with what you put in it. It is also very inexpensive, and still filling-eggs and potatoes are cheap!

Paella is a rice dish that usually has some vegetables, seafood, and/or meat. I have yet to attempt making it from scratch, which requires much more time, and with many types of seafood, more money. So, I bought this box of paella I had tried at a friend's before. I bought it at World Marked for $4.99, and it could easily feed 6-8 people. The 4 of us each had seconds and there was still some leftover. This is a tasty and inexpensive dish as too!

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