Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tortilla evolution

It's not always easy being a gourmet. Especially not when, tired after a hard-day's work, you're home late due to rain and traffic jams. While slowly moving forward in first gear, there's plenty of time to contemplate dinner, but all you can think of is 'pizza' or 'no pizza', the yearning for a quick and tasty take-away immediately suppressed by reality: take-aways are no good. So you just manage a visit to the grocer's, knowing that though cooking is a comforting and relaxing thing to do most of the time, today it's not.
For days like these, you need recipes for easy-to-make, ready-in-no-time comfort food. One of my old-time-classics is Spanish tortilla: a robust omelet with potatoes, onions and cheese (!). I used to make it (shame on me) with precut and precooked potatoes which I added to sauteed onions and an optional garlic on which I poored beaten eggs and ready-grated gouda. Green salad. Easy, quick, comforting.
But I learn, thank heaven. Precut, precooked and ready-grated were replaced by their untampered-with originals. Takes a bit longer, but gives a better result. And I know better still since I read Janneke Vreugdenhil's tortilla tricks, both to my delight (a real tortilla is so much better) and my sorrow (goodbye to ready-in-no-time). Making a good tortilla is a time consuming process with patience as the main ingredient. Apart from that, I learned to use lots of oil (the potatoes are more or less boiled in it) and to leave out the cheese.
This is how you do it:

Softly fry onions for about half an hour in a generous amount of olive oil. Put the onions aside, add some more oil and fry the thinly sliced potatoes (with some salt) softly until just ready (another half hour at least). They should be well covered in oil and not turn brown. Take out and let cool. When cooled, stir them together with the onions into a bowl with beaten eggs. Add grated pepper. Reheat pan (there should be enough olive oil left), add potatoe mixture. Turn tortilla after 5 minutes and fry other side (for this you might need the trics listed by Vreugdenhil).
Can be eaten hot or cold.

This tortilla will taste like a confit of potatoe: soft, sweet, fatty. It may take time, but requires next to no effort - the ideal comfort food at the end of a long day.

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