back in the 1990's i used to visit friends maybe once per year in bilbao in the basque country of northern spain. the great thing about staying with them was the home cooking which was mainly cooked by molly the matriarch of the household and an exceptional cook of spanish and basque cuisine. i will never forget those trips which left me with a fond memory for spanish food.
one of my favourites is the tortilla, it is so simple and easy to do and so delicious. to this day i vividly remember being shown how to make, what my basque friends would call an authentic tortilla, in the kitchen of their apartment. i do not know if their version of a tortilla is different to that of other areas in spain but either way here is my friends recipe.
7-8 large free range eggs
2-3 medium to large potatos
a lot of extra virgin olive oil
- peel the potatos and chop them into small squares roughly 1cm square.
- whisk the eggs until they are fluffy
- pour enough olive oil into a large shallow base frying pan (you need one with a lid) to fill the bottom to roughly half a centimetre depth. do not scrimp on this otherwise the tortilla will not turn out as it should.
- heat the pan until the oil is sizzling hot.
- add the chopped potatos to the pan and cook on a high heat for 5 minutes turning the potatos regularly so they do not burn. then turn the heat to medium and keep regularly turing the potatos so they are evenly frying for another 10 minutes or until they appear to be cooked and softening.
- turn the heat to medium low and add the whisked eggs to the frying pan so they cover the fried potato chucks.
- place the lid on the pan and leave to cook for another 10 minutes.
- after 10 minutes turn the heat to low and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes or until the egg on the top of the tortilla is cooked.
- once cooked take the lid off the pan and place a large plate over the pan. then with oven gloves on tightly grip the frying pan and plate so they are held firmly together and turn over. remove the frying pan and what you should be left is a tortilla that looks something like the image above.
a favourite way for my basque friends to eat their tortilla was to let it cool down then cut it into slices and use as the filling in a baguette, the ultimate potato and egg sandwich. the way i like to eat tortilla is with loads of side salad. it makes for perfect recovery food after a hard ride or run due to it being high in protein, carbs and fats (all good fats!). it will also make excellent party food to accompany the forthcoming cobbled classics starting with the tour of flanders this weekend. tortilla, a side salad and a chilled bottle of duvel. on egin! or should i say smakelijk!