I had to google myself today. Not to see if my fame has taken over the internet. Not to make sure the paparazzi hasn’t posted any pictures of me without makeup outside my mini mansion (ha!). Not even because I haven’t posted in so long that I had to check on myself (glad to be back, by the way!). I had to google myself, because I really couldn’t believe I haven’t posted this recipe yet, because it’s such a staple in our house.
The Mister and I first had a taste (or many tastes) of this dish when traveling around Spain a few years ago. Tapas bar? Tortilla Española. Sandwich place? Tortilla Española between two slices of crusty bread, with an obscene amount of mayonnaise (which I believe is Spain’s national condiment). Dinner? You guessed it, Tortilla Española served atop a big hunk of bread. I think that in Spain, farmers have trained special breeds of hens to lay their eggs, harvest potatoes, and immediately turn them into Tortilla Española.
Why is this dish so good? It’s so basic. Tortilla has nothing to do with the wraps we are used to. Rather, it’s a Spanish Omelette, similar to a fritatta, made with thinly sliced potatoes and onions sauteed in what you’ll think is way too much olive oil, then nestled in a pillow of eggs. Traditionally, it’s started on the stove, finished off in the oven, then the entire thing is flipped over so that the new top is spotted golden brown.
Sometimes keeping the tortilla in one piece as you flip it is iffy, depending on your pan. The method that works for me is to give it a short stint under the broiler, and to serve it right out of the pan. I also add fresh minced rosemary as a twist on the original version. Taking a cue from the Spaniards, I usually whip up a batch of some sort of aioli, such as garlic or sundried tomato. This time, I was craving something with a hit of freshness, so I created a tangy, herbacious sauce from nutrient-dense watercress, which complemented the richness of the tortilla.
Tortilla Española makes a great crowd-pleasing breakfast or brunch dish, but how we most enjoy it here in the Spoon house is for dinner over a crusty slice of bread, drizzled or dolloped with whatever sauce or aioli materializes out of ingredients we already have. It comes together in less than 30 minutes, and as a bonus, can be eaten for breakfast in the morning as well.
Muy delicioso. Now all I have to do is work on training those hens.
Rosemary Tortilla Española with Watercress Sauce
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Best International Recipe
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch rounds
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled, halved and sliced 1/8 inch thick
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided
- 10 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
- watercress sauce for serving (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 425˚f. Heat the oil in a 10 inch oven-proof pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring, and scraping the bottom of the pan occasionally (the potatoes tend to stick), until the potatoes and onions are soft.
In the meantime, whisk together the eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, the pepper, and the rosemary in a medium bowl until well combined and slightly frothy. Add the eggs to the pan with the cooked potatoes and onions. Gently and quickly stir and fold in the eggs to combine. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes on the stovetop, until the eggs begin to set.
Transfer to the middle rack of the oven and bake until the top is puffed and the eggs are set, about 9 minutes. Switch the oven to broil, and cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until the top is spotted golden.
Allow to cool slightly. Either slice and serve directly from the pan, or loosen the edges with a rubber spatula, and flip the tortilla onto a serving plate. Serve with watercress sauce.
Is it a vinaigrette? Is it an aioli? Maybe on both accounts. It’s creamier than a vinaigrette, and looser than an aioli. Call it what you want, but what matters is that it’s packed with nutrition, and is bright and herbaceous, a perfect contrast to the richness of the Tortilla Española!
- 1 bunch watercress, upper stems and leaves only, about 1 cup packed
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
Puree all ingredients using an immersion blender (or regular blender).