by Lisa

In keeping with the seasonal, comfort food thing, I’m giving you another dish that’s a crowd pleaser for a potluck or dinner party, a great weekend dish, and even greater leftover for a fast meal or a hearty lunch: a Spanish Tortilla.  It takes some time and tending to make, but it’s not especially difficult, and it can certainly make enough to carry you through two meals or a dinner and a couple of lunches.

This version is what I brought to Christmas Caroling party in December, and it was a huge hit with both adults and kids.  IIt was inspired by the tortilla my American roommate, who had spent a long time in Spain, used to whip up in our Belfast kitchen and in part by a dish called Potato Decadence, a really incredible garlicky potato tower that they used to serve at Timo’s, a tapas bar in San Francisco (and maybe still do). There are many recipes online for a traditional spanish tortilla, which generally involve thinly sliced potatoes sauteed in a fair amount of olive oil and bound together with egg.  I added a saffron aioli and a lot of smashed garlic paste, for a subtle kick. The trick is to cook it slow and low–a long time at very low heat, and only use enough egg to bind the potatoes.

Potato and Garlic Tortilla-Spanish Style

For the Tortilla

  • 1/2-3/4 cup olive oil
  • 4-5 russet potatoes
  • 4-5 well beaten eggs
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • Coarse salt

Quick Saffron Aioli

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • a pinch of saffron or Spanish saffron
  • 1/2 large lemon
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • coarse salt
  1. Make the aioli by smashing the 2 cloves of garlic into a paste with the saffron and a good pinch of coarse salt in a mortar and pestle.   Squeeze in the lemon and continue to blend. Add the mayonnaise and mix until well-incorporated. Season to taste, then refrigerate until needed.
  2. With the (clean) mortar and pestle, smash the remaining 4-5 cloves of garlic with a good pinch of coarse salt into a paste.
  3. Best the eggs well in separate bowl, preferably with a pouring spout.
  4. Thinly slice the potatoes.
  5. Sautee the garlic paste in the olive oil very briefly over medium heat in a large sautee pan.  Add all of the potatoes and cook, stirring and turning gently until potatoes are soft and nicely browned.
  6. When potatoes are done–about 40 minutes–pour off any extra olive oil, and slowly pour in enough of the beaten egg to bind the potatoes.
  7. Cook slowly until egg is set or, alternatively, set the pan under the broiler to brown.
  8. When the dish is cooked through, invert onto a large platter.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature with the aioli.