Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Classic Spanish Tortilla (Gluten Free)

One of my best memories from high school was getting to know Cristina.

Cristina was a Spanish exchange student who came to America during my junior year. We met in history class and became fast friends. We spent a lot of time together in the drama club, going to basketball games, having sleepovers, talking about boys, etc..

I hate to admit that it was my family that introduced Cristina to the wonderful world of healthy American eating... Bacon-cheese burgers, greasy fries, apple pie, cornbread, etc... I remember laughing with Cristina at the airport when she was headed home because she couldn't believe she had gained weight while she was here. I'm sure it had nothing to do with those cheeseburgers.

Cristina also shared some of her favorite Spanish meals with us. For the first time, I ate paella, flan, and her delicious Spanish tortilla.

The tortilla was my favorite. It was so easy, deliciously flavored with olive oil, and seemed so very Spanish.

I still make Cristina's tortilla. It makes a wonderful light supper, lunch, or can even be used cold as an appetizer. The Spanish tortilla is basically a potato omelet, but it's so more than that.

It's the memories of a dear Spanish friend who had the courage to spend a year away from home to learn about another culture. Every time I make this tortilla I think of Cristina. I remember her enchanting smile, her love of life, and the acceptance and friendship she shared with me during that tumultuous teenage year.

This wonderful dish is naturally gluten free and incredibly easy to make. I hope you'll try this Spanish Tortilla the next time you can't think of what to make for dinner. I'm almost positive you'll have all the ingredients you need right in your pantry. For more detailed instructions on how to cook and flip the tortilla, please visit this website.

Cristina's Spanish Tortilla

4-5 medium sized white potatoes
5 eggs
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped (optional)
1/2 cup olive oil, divided (*see notes)
salt and pepper, to taste

Wash potatoes, pat dry, and slice very thin (about 2mm thick) and set aside. Place a heavy bottomed cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the olive oil when the pan is hot. When the oil is hot (not smoking, but very hot), add potatoes, onions, salt and pepper. Cook potatoes and onions for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are very soft and fork tender. Set potatoes aside. In a medium sized bowl, beat eggs. Add cooked potatoes to egg mixture. Add remaining olive oil to a deep, non-stick (or cast-iron) skillet, and heat oil until hot. Pour the egg/potato mixture in the hot pan and cook like an open omelet. Reduce the heat slightly after a minute or so to allow the eggs to set in the middle, but not burn on the bottom. Use a spatula to run around the sides and bottom of the omelet to make sure it's not sticking. When the majority of the egg mixture has cooked, find a heavy plate to place over the tortilla. Using potholders to protect your hands, gently flip the pan over so that the tortilla is released onto the plate. Place the pan back on the heat and gently slide the flipped tortilla back in the hot pan to cook on the bottom. (Don't overcook, you only need to cook the bottom for about a minute!) Place tortilla on a plate and using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut into thick wedges for serving.

*We added a little bit of shredded cheese to the top of the hot tortilla. This is not traditional, but it was delicious!

You can serve immediately or eat when cool. This is often used in Spain as a light supper, or as a cold appetizer. This is delicious with mixed vegetables or a salad!



** The key to getting the eggs NOT to stick is having a VERY hot pan.

** Olive oil is important for the flavor of this tortilla. You don't need to use extra-virgin olive oil, a good basic olive oil will work just fine. The amount of oil needed varies. You may find that you only need a small amount of oil to cook the potatoes, so adjust it as needed. Some recipes call for over a cup of oil, which I find completely unnecessary.

** The flavors in the tortilla are actually at their best about an hour after cooking. This is a perfect made-ahead dish for taking to parties, luncheons, etc..

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