Once upon a time (2004) in a country far far away (Ireland) the Big Man and I had a bit of a debate. It may have been late in the evening, or even the next morning. Beer may have been consumed prior to said debate. Ok, it may have been multiple beers. And a bet may have been made between the two parties.
The argument began thusly: I said that a mandolin(e) is an instrument used for thinly slicing vegetables in uniform sizes. He said I was insane, that it’s called a knife, and that a mandolin is a tiny guitar similar to that of a ukulele. I told him that whatever this little guitar thing was, I had never seen one so it didn’t exist and therefore I was right and he was wrong and let’s just finish these fish and chips and go to bed. He agreed, but not before drawing up a document that stated how wrong I was and convincing me to sign it. The next morning I squirreled it away, and these days see it only when it randomly reappears during file cabinet searches for things that are actually important, like our birth certificates.
The sheet of paper is all crinkly and worn and at this stage, the handwriting is barely legible. Whether that legibility has more to do with alcohol than age is something I prefer not to discuss. And, being as we are both technically correct in the matter of description, the whole episode slowly turned into a story we like to drag out at parties for the mildly amused and tight lipped smiles of our friends. We’re funny, don’t you people get that!?
Anyway, ever since one Christmas a few years ago when the Big Man gave me a mandolin (with which to slice vegetables upon, proving my victory), I think he is truly the real winner here, since this just means that he gets to eat Spanish Tortillas more often. Yes, yes, go ahead and cue the Charlie Sheen, hashtag WINNING.
Spanish Tortilla Recipe
- 4-5 small to medium sized starchy potatoes, such as new potatoes, sliced thin (with a mandolin!) (with a mandolin!)
- 8 tbsp of olive oil, separated
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 tbsp coarse ground salt
- 8 large eggs
- ½ cup shelled peas, frozen or fresh
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 anchovy, minced
(the anchovy is here for umami flavor; you will not even know he is there. But it may be omitted if you prefer)
- Combine the potatoes, onion, 4 tablespoon olive oil and salt. Toss to coat each potato slice as evenly as you can.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a nonstick saucepan until shimmering, on medium to high heat. Add the potato mixture and cook, covered and stirring often, until the potatoes give little to no resistance when pricked with a fork.
- In the same bowl that the potatoes were tossed in, whisk the eggs, garlic, anchovies and peas. When the potatoes have finished cooking, scrape the potato mixture into the bowl with the eggs and stir to combine.
- Clean the pan the potatoes were cooking in and add another two tablespoons olive oil, heat until shimmering and just starting to smoke, over medium to high heat. Add the potatoe and egg combination mixture and cook, shaking the pan in between folding the mixture around, for about 30 seconds. Make sure the egg and potatoes haven’t started to stick to the bottom of the pan and that the eggs are being turned around enough to facilitate even heat distribution. Reduce heat to low, cover and let cook, shaking every other minute or so, until the top has started to set and the bottom has turned a golden brown, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and cover the entire pan with an upside down plate. Carefully invert the pan over the plate so that the tortilla is upside down on the plate. Remove the pan and wipe clean. Add one tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and swirl it around before sliding the tortilla back into the pan. You may have to shove slices of potatoes back under the tortilla, but try to keep the whole thing as uniform as possible. Continue to cook over medium to low heat, shaking every other minute, until the tortilla has browned on the bottom. Slide out of the pan and serve hot or cold (I like mine with garlic aioli on the side)
- A Spanish tortilla is basically an egg and potato omelet, cooked on both sides until the edges get crispy and the whole things gets mellow and creamy and unbelievably delicious. Pay close attention to the instruction on flipping it; it’s the most crucial part of the entire recipe and if you aren’t careful, will break the tortilla in half.