I’m settling into my new place in Sunset Park … a few giant bins are floating around, stuffed mostly with oversized scarves and canvas tote bags, and I have yet to hang all of the mirrors but my kitchen essentials are all there, and I feel pretty good about it. As British chef Fergus Henderson rightly put it, the table comes first* … and while I don’t have a dining table per se, I’ve got all of the fixins to put tasty stuff on one.
The night before Thanksgiving, I had some fun as a panelist on For Fork’s Sake, a new online series focusing on food, women and body politics… Here I am, eating tortilla and talking about what my family ate growing up. So check that out if you want. Or not, whatever.
Now let’s discuss the tortilla. I experimented with a new idea, taking a traditional American ingredient, sweet potato, and incorporating it into a classic Spanish recipe, the tortilla de patatas.** I know, I’m not reinventing the wheel here, but it came out really dern delicious. Hope everyone ate too much turkey or tofurkey (even if it was a mutant wingless organic turkey like the one my brother cooked … tasted slammin even without the wings) and spent quality time with family and friends. Cocinamos!
- 5 or 6 eggs
- medium Spanish onion
- 3 medium sweet potatoes
- lots of oil (I prefer olive oil but sunflower oil is cheaper and works fine too)
- salt and pepper
- parsley aioli (optional)
(keep scrolling for tortilla how-to)
Peel the sweet potatoes and then using a pairing knife, break off quarter-sized chunks of potato. Insert the knife, holding the potato from the bottom in your other hand – the knife should be perpendicular to the potato – and pull the knife away from the potato, toward you. A chunk of potato should break off along the potato fibers. This is a good tip guys, the kind you get from a Spanish granny. Why? Because slicing the potato cuts through the fibers and the potatoes won’t absorb as much of the egg and juices. Next! Cube onion into half inch squares. Pour a lot of oil into a large pan, making sure to use a pan that a plate will entirely cover (for the flipping part, below). The oil should be at least a half inch to an inch deep. Heat. Once hot, add the potatoes. When they start to get soft, add the onions. Add a generous amount of salt. While this cooks, crack eggs into a large bowl and beat well. Taste the potatoes and make sure they’re salty enough. Once potatoes and onions are good and cooked (the onions should be golden, maybe a few crunchies in there, and you should be able to stick a knife into the potatoes easily), add them to the large bowl of eggs. If your pan is dry, add another splash of oil. Mix the eggs, potatoes and onions and pour mixture into the pan. Don’t move it around – just wait. When almost all of the egg is set and only the center is liquidy, place a plate on top of the pan, quickly flip the pan onto the plate (CAREFUL if you use a cast iron pan like me because it’s heavy and the handle gets hot as a mofo), return the pan to the stove and slide the tortilla back into the pan, using a spatula to help scrape in any wet bits left behind. Allow to cook for a minute then turn off the heat. Let the tortilla rest for a minute more then transfer to a plate. Eat with crusty bread and generous amount of parsley aioli, unless you have a date with someone you just met on Tinder and may want to reconsider your garlic consumption.
* I got this quote from Adam Gopnik’s The Table Comes First.
** spanish tortilla de patatas = potato omelette