Thursday, January 6, 2011


Sometimes I forget I am married to a foreigner. My husband, Andrew, is pale-skinned, has blue eyes and speaks perfect English. It's easy then to lose sight of the fact that he spent most of his life in Spain. That he didn't grow up watching Saved by the Bell. That he doesn't care about Zack and Kelly's prom. That he doesn't even know who Zack and Kelly are.

Sometimes, this cultural difference is hard. Mostly when I want to talk about non-important pop-culture items like when Lyle Lovett was married to Julia Roberts or when I can't remember the name of Doug Funny's best friend who was blue-colored and I have no one to ask.

Other than those times, I suppose I benefit quite a bit from my husband's foreignness. Especially as it relates to food and coffee. Therefore, it is noteworthy that today is El Dia de los Reyes or King's Day in Spain. This holiday is essentially the equivalent to the United States' Christmas. People give and receive gifts, parades are had, and food is eaten.

So to help Andrew feel somewhat connected to his homeland, I make Spanish tortilla for Reyes. This is by no means culturally traditional; in fact, last time we were in Spain for King's Day, my mother-in-law made rice and milk and someone brought a fruit cake. Both of these foods had some strange object hidden in them and whoever happened to find, bite or unfortunately swallow the weird little toy was granted good luck for the next year.

I'm scared of plastic toxins leeching into my food so we went without the prospect of added luck for the year. Hopefully this works out for us.

All that is to say, if you've ever eaten Spanish tortilla (and by that I mean tortilla de patatas) you know it is has nothing to do with Mexican tortilla shells, but rather, is a wonderful egg and potato dish, something of a potato omelet. For those of you who actually care to have this recipe (Sarah, Holly, three people maybe), I have included my Spanish tortilla recipe for all your nostalgic moments.

Spanish Tortilla:
3 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
6 eggs
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper

The most important part of making tortilla is to slice the potatoes really thin. If not, they won't cook and life will be hard. So slice 'em up good.


You also really want to use a non-stick pan because tortilla requires the acrobatic art of "the flip" and you can't flip it if it's clinging to the pan. So in the pan, pour in a bunch of oil. 1/2 cup is really conservative. My mother-in-law covers the potatoes completely in oil...I just can't bring myself to do that -- mostly because olive oil is more expensive in the States, but if you are rich, or from Europe, bathe them in oil. I blame my oil frugality on the weakening dollar.


Heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the potatoes.


Cook the potatoes until they are soft, about 7-10 minutes. You should be able to easily break them with a spatula.


Next, drain the potatoes from the oil, saving a few tablespoons for later use. Again, if you are my mother-in-law, you save the olive oil for when you make tortilla again. I try to do this, but since I usually make tortilla a few times a year it proves problematic for my cupboards.


In a large bowl or measuring cup, combine the eggs with some salt and pepper. Temper the eggs by adding a few of the potatoes and mixing everything together, allowing the eggs to come to come to a warmer temperature without cooking them.


Add the rest of the potatoes to the mixture. Add a tablespoon of oil back to the skillet and return the egg and potato mixture to the pan.


Be sure to scrape down the sides of the pan and press down the potato mixture. It also helps to shake the pan back and forth a bit to ensure the tortilla doesn't stick to the bottom. When the sides of the tortilla have set and the middle is beginning to gets a bit trickier. Now comes the part where you have to flip the tortilla. It helps if you have a special plate designed for flipping tortilla, which I'm sure many of you have, though any large plate will work just as well.


Carefully place the plate over the top of the skillet.


Then, flip it. I can't take a picture of myself flipping the tortilla, but if you did it successfully, the guts of the tortilla will still be contained within the plate and not all over your stove. Add a little bit more olive oil to the skillet and carefully slide the tortilla back on the skillet so the underside is now being cooked, being careful to tuck in any lost potatoes.


Cook several minutes longer until the tortilla is set, but not burned and remove from the skillet. It should have a lovely golden color.

Slide the tortilla from the skillet to a serving plate.


Tortilla can be sliced into wedges and served warm, or cut into smaller squares and served cold as a finger food. But I think if you want the most out of tortilla, you must have bocadillos de tortilla -- tortilla sandwiches.


Just don't be like my parents and try to add ketchup. It's blasphemous.

Feliz Reyes!


Carmen said...

I'll have you know that what you profanely call "rice and milk" is actually "yule grat"... this thread of Gillettes plays that whomever finds the almond is the next one to get married. Amy found it this year-- she has precisely four months and six days to find and marry a man before Kara walks down the aisle. Sometimes predestination needs a nudge.

Audrey said...

Man, I love Spanish tortillas. Thank you for making me hungry and craving oily potatoey things. Happy Spain celebration!

Ben and Alicia said...

When I lived in Spain I LOVED the bocadillos de tortilla! I've forgotten all about them (until now)

lyndsey said...

Carmen -- well if this "yule grat" you speak of was the same rice and milk we ate, Andrew found the almond (though I feel like it was actually a raisin) and he was already married and Elizabeth was much to young to be playing such a dangerous game.

Perhaps the rules need adjusting?

Amanda said...

I am very proud of this blog post. I actually made my first tortilla today and served it at my class party and decided I should start making food more because it makes me feel responsible, and I like that feeling (surprising, I know).

Jenny said...

I think ketchup is blasphemous in all areas of the world, or at least the classy ones.

lyndsey said...

Carmen -- I just noticed the typo of "to" instead of "too." Immediately disregard and replace with grammar respect. Thank you.

Thank you Amanda and I am equally proud of you as well. I guess you are now ready to take care of a husband and several children, even if they only eat a steady diet of tortilla.

SarahJohnson27 said...

yeah, why is olive so spendy here?