Tortilla Española

It’s always nice to stumble upon a new tasty use for leftovers. After all there’s only so much fried rice a person can eat. I’m loving this Spanish tortilla, aka tortilla de patatas,  because it’s easy to make, works with a lot of different odds and ends and is less egg-y than a quiche or a frittata (a plus in my book). The finely layered potatoes look way more impressive than they should which might even win you a few kudos from your friends. You can serve it warm or room temperature and enjoy it just about any time of day. Because it holds together so nicely, it’s a good one to slice into wedges for the lunchbox or to tote along to a picnic. Give this one a try next time you open your refrigerator and you see some potatoes and eggs staring back at you. It’s super easy, I promise!

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 pound of potatoes (about 3 large russets)
  • 1 onion finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs finely minced (parsley, thyme, mint or a mixture of your favorites)
  • Optional: 1/2 cup leftover meat or vegetables finely chopped (if needed, squeeze the  chopped vegetables to remove excess liquid); We also like finely chopped ham or chorizo.
  • oil
  • salt and pepper
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon of hot sauce
  1. Lightly oil a sheet pan and pop it into the oven and turn the heat up to 450 degrees. This way you can preheat your pan while you slice your potatoes.
  2. Peel and slice your potatoes into thin rounds, about 1/8″ to 1/4″ is nice. Once you’ve finished slicing, pat them dry and lay them in a single layer on your pre-heated baking sheet and season with salt and pepper and a little smoked paprika if you like. Cook them about 10 minutes or until they start to turn golden around the edges, then flip them to cook on the other side. After another 5-10 minutes, check them to see if they are tender. Once they pierce easily with a fork, take them out and let them cool. You can do this step ahead.
  3. Saute the minced onion until translucent, then move it to a large bowl to cool. When the onions are no longer hot, add the eggs, the herbs, salt pepper, smoked paprika and/or hot sauce to the bowl. Beat well. Add the cooled potatoes to the bowl and toss them very gently with your hands to coat them with egg.
  4. Lightly mist a saute pan with oil. Start layering the potatoes like shingles. Here and there add your chopped leftover meat or vegetables so that they are layered with the potatoes. Drizzle a small amount of the egg mixture after each couple of layers. Keep going until you’ve used up all your ingredients. Then pour more of the egg mixture over the top until it comes just to the top of your final layer of potatoes. You may not need all of the egg mixture.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, cook the tortilla on the stove top using medium heat until it is a deep, golden brown on the bottom. Slide the tortilla onto a plate. Give the pan another light mist of oil and then invert the pan over the plate and flip them together so that the tortilla falls back into the pan and you can brown the second side. Once the second side is also a deep golden brown, move the whole pan to the pre-heated oven. Check for done-ness after about 10 minutes and about every five minutes after that. Just insert a knife into the center of the tortilla and lightly press next to it to see if any liquid comes to the top. It’s done when no more liquid appears.

Let the tortilla cool slightly so it can set before you cut into it. Slice into wedges, sprinkle with fresh herbs and serve with hot sauce on the side. Leftovers of your leftovers? Not to worry…..slices of tortilla also make a great filling for a bocadillo — a Spanish-style sandwich on crusty bread. Yum!

Potatoes waiting for a tortilla.

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Genius Cauliflower Soup

Our family has been on a quest to include more vegetables and whole grains in our diet. As we’ve gone down this path, I’ve realized that it helps to mix it up and go beyond our standby salads and steamed/stir fried vegetables. So we often have a simple pureed soup as a starter or side to our meal. What’s nice is that you can make a soup like this over the weekend or on an evening when you have a bit more time and you’ve got a readymade vegetable course for a busy night. Smooth, pureed soups are also baby-friendly which is another bonus.

Genius Cauliflower Soup

One of the pureed soups I make most often is this ingeniously simple cauliflower soup from one of my absolute favorite cookbooks “Cooking By Hand” by Paul Bertoli. Cauliflower is one of those things I’ve noticed a lot of people actively dislike, but stay with me here…. even if you’re not a fan, try this one! It might just change your mind. In the preface to this recipe, Paul Bertoli himself admits to not liking cauliflower, but enjoys this soup because it brings out the vegetable’s finest qualities. I agree. When prepared this way, cauliflower has an incredibly silky, velvety texture. You would swear that this soup was cream-based.

With only 2 ingredients (cauliflower and onion), it couldn’t be easier to make and or more versatile. It’s perfection as is, but you can also dress it up with condiments (crispy shallots, garlicky croutons, herbs, a drizzle of your finest olive oil, a pinch of spices), or use it as a sauce for a crispy fish or chicken fillet, even add it to other sauces where you want a little creaminess (mac and cheese). It’s a great dunk for a sandwich or a piece of garlic bread. So grab a head of cauliflower and an onion and give it a go!

Cauliflower Soup

(from “Cooking By Hand” by Paul Bertoli)

Ingredients: 1 Head of Cauliflower, 1 Onion, Water, Salt & Pepper

  1. Wash and trim one head of cauliflower and set aside.
  2. Saute one medium onion in a little olive oil in a large pot until translucent (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add the cauliflower to the pot along with 1/2 cup water. Cover tightly and let braise for 30 minutes (cauliflower should be tender by this point).
  4. Uncover the pot and add 4 1/2 cups water and simmer uncovered for another 20 minutes. Let cool.
  5. When cool enough, puree in blender. Beware of hot foods in a blender — they can explode on you!
  6. When ready to serve, warm through and season with salt and pepper. Serve with a drizzle of good quality olive oil.