Salsa Driven Brunch

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            We’ve been gone to the beach so opening the fridge at home on Sunday morning, looking for the makings of brunch, revealed little except some fresh fruit, but there was a little jewel box looking container of salsa fresca made by my friend, Lauren.  The stipulation was that I had to give it a few days before eating to let it develop its best flavor.  
Today, it was ready, but we needed a salsa vehicle.  I had just been catching up on some Tasting Table postings and one was for a classic Spanish tortilla, which if you know Spanish food isn’t a flat bread, but a layered dish of potatoes and onions, held together with eggs, and almost simmered in olive oil.  The commentary on this recipe emphasized that the olive oil was just about the most important ingredient and I’m hesitant to even recommend this recipe to people who don’t have access to the beautiful and inexpensive olive oil we have here on the Mediterranean.  I completely understand how it can be the star of a dish.  
The directions are slightly specific, but not at all difficult and when followed, produced a perfect tortilla that we enjoyed, with the delicious, gifted salsa, in the garden with our college boys who are with us.  
I look forward to eating much more of Lauren’s cooking since she just lives down the street a few houses now, but this salsa was special because it was one of her first attempts to connect with the local food base in a way that helped her and her family begin to feel some familiarity in the midst of a new home, new culture, new friends, new jobs.  How to even get that started?  Ah yes, buy some produce and begin chopping.
Tortilla Española
Recipe adapted from Seamus Mullen, Tertulia, New York City
Yield: one 12-inch tortilla
Cook Time: 1 hour
8 eggs
2 cups high-quality olive oil
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed slightly
3 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
1. Lightly beat the eggs and season with a generous sprinkle of salt. Set aside.
2. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat until it is warm. Add the onion and garlic and gently cook until the vegetables are translucent, about 15 minutes. Add the potatoes; cook for 20 minutes until the potatoes have completely fallen apart but the potatoes and onions haven’t taken on any color.
3. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the mixture through a colander, reserving the olive oil for the next time you make a tortilla. (If you continue to use this same oil, each tortilla you make will taste better than the last.) Once you’ve strained the potato-and-onion mixture, season it with salt and add the eggs, mixing until thoroughly combined.
4. Heat the same skillet over medium-low heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil from the reserved potato-and-onion mixture to the pan. Pour the potato-and-egg mixture into the pan and let it cook for 2 minutes without touching the pan, until the bottom begins to set up. Gently shake the pan to release the eggs from the bottom; using a rubber spatula, gently pull the mixture away from the edge to make sure it isn’t sticking at all. Cook until the bottom is set but the top is still very wet, about 5 minutes.
5. Place a large, flat plate on top of the skillet, hold it tightly and, using one quick motion (probably best to perform this over the sink the first few times), flip the pan over and let the tortilla fall onto the plate.
6. Wipe the pan with a paper towel, return to the heat, add another tablespoon of the reserved olive oil and carefully slip the tortilla back into the pan. Using a rubber spatula, carefully tuck the edges of the tortilla back into the pan and cook for another 3 minutes. Once the bottom is set, repeat the flipping process one or two more times until the edge of the tortilla is perfectly rounded. If at any time the tortilla begins to swell, poke it gently with a fork. The tortilla should be nice and golden on the outside while remaining creamy and gooey on the inside. Remove from the pan and serve hot or at room temperature.

One thought on “Salsa Driven Brunch

  1. Funny, tortilla is on our menu for the week. Well that is if we ever get it together enough to actually get to the market for food! Thank goodness for the packed granola bars…..

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