A properly made tortilla is a thing of beauty. Perfect as a light lunch with friends, a simple green salad on the side and a glass of crisp white wine to wash it down. I have a bit of an omelette phobia in general – for some reason they just never turn out right. We all have our Achilles’ heel, and I guess mine is this kitchen staple.
With tortilla, I tended to cheat somewhat. I just bought great slices of it from Brindisa and contented myself with these, safe in the knowledge that there was no way I could do any better at home.
And then, during a long glorious lunch there with Jose Pizarro, head chef of their three restaurants, I managed to wangle their tortilla recipe. He’s one to watch too – a creative, knowledgeable chef whose Spanish cooking is some of the best I’ve eaten. Keep an eye out for his book, which will be out later this year.
The secret, he says, for a perfect tortilla, is in the slow cooking of the onion – its sticky sweetness rounds out the flavour of the omelette. He recommends serving this with allioli.
Potato and chorizo tortilla
Ingredients (Serves 4)
• 7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 2 medium white Spanish onions, thinly sliced
• fine salt
• 5 medium sized floury potatoes such as Maris Piper
• 6 large free-range eggs, beaten
For the chorizo mix
• 1 garlic clove, sliced
• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1 small red pepper
• 1 small green pepper
• 125g cured spicy chorizo, diced
Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the garlic, peppers and chorizo until the peppers have softened and the chorizo is crispy. This will take about 8 minutes. Drain off any excess oil and set aside.
Heat 6 tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and add the onions and season with salt. Gently fry the onions for 20 minutes or so until soft and brown, but not burnt.
Peel and halve the potatoes, and then finely slice the pieces. Add the potatoes to the onions and fry for 30 minutes until they completely cooked. Remove any excess oil with a spoon. Season and set aside.
Add the chorizo mix to the potatoes.
While the mixture is still warm, add the beaten eggs and stir everything well.
Heat a non-stick frying pan with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and add the potato mix. Stir it for 1 minute then smooth it down, and let it fry gently for at least 10 minutes until there’s a beautiful brown crust underneath.
Once it’s cooked on the frying pan side, take a flat lid or plate and place it over the tortilla. Clamp pan and lid together and twist both over together so that the tortilla is now on the lid.
Return the pan to the heat, and slide the tortilla back into the pan. It’s a bit scary to begin with, but practise makes perfect and it’s very easy to get the hang of the technique.
To serve, let the tortilla cool to room temperature. Ideally, leave it for a day before cutting it into wedges.