Friday, February 4, 2011

French Fridays with Dorie: Basque Potato Tortilla

I accompanied French Fridays with Dorie this week for a spontaneous excursion to the Basque region of France, for a taste of the popular Basque Potato Tortilla. This is also one of the most common tapas throughout Spain, and is simply an egg omelet with fried potatoes. Some versions include onions, and Dorie provides several bonne idees, or good ideas, to spruce it up with diced ham, minced fresh herbs, spinach, and/or mushrooms.

I prepared the basic version, which is scantily clad in a few crushed cloves of garlic, a fragrant sprig of rosemary, and a pinch of piment d' Espelette (Basque red chile pepper), but I regret to say it still needed a few more layers.  Flavorful pieces of Spanish chorizo come to mind.  I used Yukon Gold potatoes, as recommended, but I sliced rather than cubed them.


Preparation involves slowly cooking the potatoes and onions in shimmering olive oil until they are golden and soft, but not browned. The potatoes and onions are taken out of the pan, and the pan is wiped clean (very important to prevent stickage), before another quick pour of olive oil goes in the pan to heat. When the oil is hot, the potatoes, onions and whisked eggs go in and are momentarily left undisturbed. The tortilla is then covered and cooked slowly, as it soaks up and gently molds the egg and potatoes into one. Every now and then, a silicone spatula slips in for a run around the inside edges of the pan and underneath the tortilla. Once the top is almost set, the pan in placed under the broiler to finish it off. The tortilla is easily lifted out of the pan and transferred to a serving platter, where it is allowed to cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.



The tortilla can be served at room temperature or cold. Apparently, when hot, it crumbles badly having not fully set, and the flavors are muted. I patiently waited as directed and served ours at room temperature, but we all thought it would taste better warm. I reheated a slice the next day for lunch and confirmed that suspicion.

We enjoyed this for dinner, with a citrusy, nutty, Portuguese-inspired salad, but the tortilla is often served as tapas, cut up into bite-sized cubes and each piece pierced with a toothpick.

You can find David Leite's Orange Salad with Pine Nuts in The New Portuguese Table: Exciting Flavors from Europe's Western Coast, one of my prized cookbook finds in the past year.  David's Pine Nut and Orange Cookies are also amazing!


If you like Basque and Spanish tapas, you may also be marginally entertained by two culinary-themed picnics we hosted last summer during our Coronado Summer Concerts in the Park season: Basque Country and Spanish Tapas.

16 comments:

Candy Girl said...

Looks beautiful! I first had this dish in Spain and making it brought back memories of those trips.

Katiebe (or KB) said...

I love the idea to slice the potatoes! It looks more elegant that way. Also, those cookies look amazing. Thanks for the ideas!

Seattle Pastry Girl said...

Beautiful results and gorgeous photos-looking forward to meeting you at the photo shootout !

Cher said...

The tortilla was good, but I am loving the salad and the cookies! What a neat combination...

Flourchild said...

Everything looks yummy! Im glad you enjoyed! The cookies look great..

Lizzy said...

Mmmmm...your salad looks fabulous...what a nice pairing with the tortilla. And your tortilla is lovely with the sliced potatoes...

Karen said...

What a great post about this! Your tortilla looks delicious! :)

DessertByCandy said...

Your salad looks to be a great accompaniment to the tortilla. Love the vibrant colour.

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

Gorgeous! I think I would've preferred the potatoes sliced, like you have them. And I agree... this one needed a little something extra! :)

Betsy said...

Looks delicious! I'm going to try slicing the potatoes next time. I cut mine into chunks, but they took a long time to cook through. Those cookies look amazing. I'm adding that recipe to my list to try.

Candy said...

Your food looks ridiculously gorgeous!

bunkycooks said...

I agree with you that serving this warm would be better. I also like your ideas on the additions. My favorite part of the meal is the salad! Those flavors would have made everything bright!

Paula said...

I can`t stop looking at this! It`s absolutely divine and I want to try this...

Have a great time,
Paula

Cakelaw said...

I love your photos of the fried potatoes - I admit to eing able to eat these as is. I added bacon to mine for some flavour, and the saltiness gave it a lift. Your lovbely orange salad makes for a beautiful bright plate.

Kim said...

I realize your post is about the tortilla, but I'm a little smitten over the cookies... which I have now bookmarked. It if wasn't so close to bedtime, I'd actually be making them tonight. :-)

[K]

Lana said...

I made my Basque tortilla the basic way, just like you (minus the piment d'Espelette - even though I tried to remember to buy it:). Yes, it needs something little to lift it up. Next time we can experiment.
I am glad I have found another SoCal blog to follow! Hello from Mission Viejo!
P.S. I love your photography!