Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Simple Spanish Flavor

When I was in college I studied abroad in Seville, Spain with a group of students from my university, Texas Tech. Because we were all from Texas, we had to learn during our time in Spain that although they speak the same language as Mexicans, they are very different. Just like we are very different from the British even though we speak the same language.

There are words that are different, like the Spanish call bathrooms "aseos" while Mexicans call them "banos." The Spanish say "zumo" for juice but Mexicans say "jugo." Besides vocabulary and the obvious differences between Europe and North America, the food was also something new to me. For some reason, before going I assumed Spanish cuisine would be much like Mexican (this may seem like a no-brainer to some of you, but I had never heard of Spanish food). I soon realized the two countries had very little in common when it came to their comida. I tried much of the food in Spain, especially when our Spanish "mom" that I lived with along with two other students would cook for us. Looking back, I wish I would have been more adventurous when eating out too, but at the time I was a little more narrow-minded when it came to food. Guess it just means I have to go back!

Spanish food is very delicious, and during my travels one of my favorite dishes was the tortilla. This is nothing like the Mexican tortilla. It just happens to have the same name. We asked our Spanish mom how to cook it, and although our Spanish wasn't quite at the level to understand everything she said, I enjoyed watching her make it. Since then, I have looked at many recipes, experimented, and finally come up with my own version.

You will need:
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium russet potato peeled and sliced very thin
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Manchego cheese- this is a Spanish cheese which you should be able to find in most grocery stores with artisan cheeses. You can leave it out or substitute parmesan if you are unable to find it. 
  • Chopped cilantro, parsley, or other fresh garnish. 
Sprinkle a little salt and pepper into bowl of eggs. Using a hand grater, grate about 1 tablespoon of cheese into bowl. Stir together.

Drizzle a medium size (about 8 in.) non-stick pan with olive oil and place on medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic. Saute until tender and translucent. Add potatoes to pan and cook on both sides until tender but not browned. Remove about half of the mixture, just enough so that there is one single layer on the bottom of the pan. Turn heat down to medium.

Pour egg mixture over potatoes. Place remaining potato mixture evenly over eggs. Sprinkle with a little more cheese if desired. Let this sit until the bottom is set. This time will vary, it should be around 5 minutes. You can test this by taking a small spatula around the edges to see if they have set.

The next step is the most difficult. It requires flipping the tortilla so that the other side can cook. Take a large plate, one that is bigger than your pan and place it on top of the pan. If you have a friend or family member around, you may want to ask for their help at this point. You will need to hold the plate firmly over the pan, then flip the pan upside down. I had my mother-in-law help me. She held onto the handle of the pan while I held the plate with one hand and with a potholder held the bottom of the pan. We were successful for the most part, only spilling a little! It's best to do this over the sink just in case you spill. If this makes you nervous, you can also just place the pan in the oven and let it cook for a few minutes to let it set a little better.

Once you get the tortilla on the plate, return it to the pan so that the uncooked side can cook. This will just take a few minutes. You can check on it using a spatula to lift the edges. When it is set on both sides, carefully slide it onto a serving plate. I topped ours with cilantro, which is not traditionally done, but it gave it a nice fresh touch and some color. Then slice it like you would a pie. It makes 8 small slices, so depending on what else you are serving and everyone's appetite, this should feed 4-8 people. There were 3 of us eating, and we ended up with one leftover slice.

You can change this up by adding meat, like chorizo, vegetables or spices. The possibilities are endless!

I served the tortilla with roasted asparagus. This is my favorite way to cook asparagus. Slice off the ends, place on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. I also sliced a couple of garlic cloves and sprinkled them on it as well. Bake at 375 for about 10-15 minutes. This gives the asparagus a lovely flavor and texture.

This makes a great meal on it's own, or serve small portions as part of a tapas party along with jamon de serrano, various cheeses, or other tapas of your choosing.

I've linked up with Living Well Spending Less for Thrifty Thursday. Check it out for other great budget-friendly ideas!


  1. looks delicious!! i'll have to try this version, though i may go the pan in the oven route (:

    1. Thanks! It's really yummy! Let me know how it turns out :)