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
- 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.
- With the (clean) mortar and pestle, smash the remaining 4-5 cloves of garlic with a good pinch of coarse salt into a paste.
- Best the eggs well in separate bowl, preferably with a pouring spout.
- Thinly slice the potatoes.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cook slowly until egg is set or, alternatively, set the pan under the broiler to brown.
- When the dish is cooked through, invert onto a large platter.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with the aioli.