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Often times, around 3:30PM, I find myself thinking, "HOLY CRAP! What am I going to make for dinner?"
Usually this is a result of having tons of question marks and "suggestions" in my previously lazily constructed meal plan (WTG, Past Ifdy). So, on a Monday afternoon, where I've fought sleep and a cranky toddler, I have only a couple hours to figure out what's for dinner.
Now, a lot of times I resort to steaming up some quick and easy pork dumplings you can find in the freezers at Trader Joes (these are SO delish!).... but I've already given my family dumplings twice in the past week, so I feel bad doing it again.
Then I thought, WWMD? (What Would Mom Do?) A good Cuban mom can whip up ridiculously delicious meals with a spit and a fart, so I channeled my inner Cuban mother, and remembered this fall-back recipe: la tortilla española (the "Spanish Tortilla").
Now, if you're unfamiliar with the whole tortilla thing, here's a small lesson: tortillas in Spain are NOT the same as tortillas in most other places. A tortilla as you know it, is like the flatbread that holds in your delicious burrito and taco mixings. But if you're ever in Barcelona or dining in an authentic Spanish restaurant, a tortilla is more like a quiche: an egg cake of deliciousness.
So, Cubans, having a deeply-rooted Spanish heritage, adopted this into our cuisine and made it our own. And this recipe specifically, is one I got from my mom––you'll know that once you have your first bite and you're whisked away into the warm and comforting bosom of a pleasant childhood memory.
Alright, here goes the recipe. I broke it down into micro-steps, so feel free to ignore them if you know what you're doing. I know I need super detailed instructions in life, so I went through all the steps in case you do, too. Read ahead before you go grocery shopping. I use two pans to make this recipe: an aluminum caldero for the frying, and a 10" nonstick pan for the actual tortilla making. Feel free to leave me some questions if you're confused about any of these steps!
Serves: 4 slices
- 7 eggs
- 2-3 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/4 lb ham, cubed
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp parsley
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/4C-1/2C + 2 tbsp olive oil for frying
First, fry the potatoes.
- In a large pan (or an aluminum caldero like I use when frying), heat between 1/4C to 1/2C of olive oil on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the cubed potatoes and frequently stir so they don't get stuck on the bottom.
- When your potatoes have browned a bit (approximately 5 minutes), remove them from the oil using a mesh strainer and put them on a plate lined with a paper towel.
Next, saute the onions.
- Using the same caldero/pan, drain the oil until you have about 1 tbsp of oil left. (If you don't have any oil left in the pan, then add 1 tbsp to the hot pan).
- Add the ham chunks (giggle) and onions. Saute until the onions are softened and translucent (about 2-3 minutes).
- Remove from heat and set aside.
Then, mix the rest of the ingredients.
- In a medium bowl, beat the 7 eggs very well. Then add the salt, pepper, and parsley and mix well.
- Then add the ham, onions, and fried potato chunks. Mix well with a spoon or spatula.
Finally, cook the mixture.
- Heat a separate 10" nonstick or cast iron pan on medium heat, and add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil.
- Slowly add the egg mixture into the heated pan.
- As you begin to see the sides firm up, use a silicone turner to separate the sides and bottom from the pan. This helps prevent the tortilla from sticking and breaking.
- Once you see the tortilla is mostly firm (the middle might still look a little runny, about 6-7 minutes, more or less), flip it to the other side. I honestly have no magic way of doing this easily, but I manage by using two turners and a prayer, haha!
- Since the pan is hot, your tortilla needs only a few seconds (maybe 10) to lightly cook the top and completely firm up. Continue separating the edges and bottom until you feel it's firm, and no longer see any eggs running.
- Grab a plate, and flip your tortilla right onto it. Cut it into fours, and serve! You can eat this as is, or serve it alongside some bread or salad––or as my husband prefers, with some Tabasco sauce!