I lived in Madrid a million years ago when I was in my twenties and I admit it - I was a tortilla addict. I ate tortilla in the morning. I ate tortilla mid morning. I ate tortilla at lunch, at dinner and again in the evening as a tapa.
I also gained an alarming amount of weight which only made sense AFTER I watched somebody making it. Potatoes cooking away in a big pan of simmering oil was all I needed to see to understand why my steady diet of tortilla and beer was also responsible for my waist white wall tire.
After I got home, I could never get the hang of making it myself, almost always resorting to just popping it in the oven to cook the top instead of flipping it because it constantly fell apart. I understand that this was also probably because I was constantly trying to lighten it up, make it a bit less fattening and leaner so I could eat more of it, more often.
I have now given up on that and I am making it properly - poaching the potatoes in plenty of olive oil, adding onions if you are down with that ( and depending on where you are from in Spain, that is a HOTLY contested issue), then lightly draining the hot potatoes and onion and throwing them in a bowl of unmixed, whole eggs before you mix the whole mess together with some salt and pepper.
You let that rest for at least 15 minutes.
Keep an eye out for some fancy pants variations that will be coming in the coming weeks and months but, for now, I give you the basic recipe for a Tortilla de Patatas
I love this pan and it works perfectly for tortilla - I use it to poach the potato/onion in the oil, drain the oil (i keep the tortilla oil in a labeled jar to use over and over), wipe out any solids and use it for the actual tortilla. Nothing sticks, easy peasy.
Tortilla de Patatas
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Tortilla de Patatas
2 large or 3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in half ( i like Yukon Gold, others prefer a waxy potato)
1 onion, peeled and halved OR 1 leek, cleaned, halved lengthwise )
a good pinch of kosher salt and black pepper
500 ml olive oil
cut each potato into thin slices so you have half circle slices. Cut the onion the same way or if you use leeks, cut them a bit thicker - about 1/4"
Heat the oil over medium high heat in your deep frying pan and add the onion. When the onions start to sizzle add the sliced potatoes and cook them for about 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon. When you can easily break a potato slice with your spoon, they are done.
Meanwhile, crack 8 eggs into a deep bowl, add the good sized pinch of kosher salt (about 2/4 tsp) and a few grinds of black pepper
Use a slotted spoon and remove the onion and potato from the pan and dump into the bowl with the eggs. Mix it all together with a few turns - don't overmix- and leave to rest for at least 15 minutes or up to one hour.
If using the same frying pan, give it a light wipe to get rid of any potato or onion bits and heat it up again over medium high heat. If using a new pan, add a drizzle of olive oil and when the pan is nice and hot, pour in the egg/potato mixture.
I let it cook for a minute and then turn the heat down to medium and then cook it for another 2 or 3 minutes. You want to able to run a spatula around the outside of the omelette with the outer ring looking solid with a softer interior and runny top.
Now, take a plate that is larger than the frying pan, cover the pan with it, placing your hand on the underside of the plate and flip the pan over on to the plate.
Put the pan back on the burner and very carefully slide the tortilla back into the pan, well done side up this time - don't worry that there will be some wet egg residue on the plate. Cook it for another couple of minutes - it will feel very firm to the touch.
Some people like it creamy in the centre and others like it very solid and well done. I have seen people do the plate/pan flip a second time and give it an extra minute or two before flipping it out onto the plate so you can serve it.
I like to serve it the first time, warm with a softer centre and then the leftovers will set up after sitting and the next day, I take it out of the fridge and it is completely solid and I can cut it up in cubes.