Alex Hogendorf, food and travel writer, shares the MIMO secret to Tortilla, the classic Spanish dish!
Oh dear tortilla, how we adore you! The most classic of Spanish dishes, the tortilla de potatoes is a dish riddled with tradition and a staple in any kitchen and bar in San Sebastian. Try a great tortilla, a really well-made one with the right kind of custardy texture, and it might be the best thing you’ll eat in Spain – or better still, at home! Simple (deceivingly so), hearty, and delicious, it’s a bite that’s perfect any time of day. Breakfast, lunch, brunch, supper, midnight snack… once you add it to your cooking repertoire, you’ll be revisiting it time and time again.
Potatoes, eggs, salt, and olive oil - it seems simple, but putting it all together takes a bit of finesse. MIMO expert chefs have years of tortilla experience and a slew of tricks and tips up their sleeves. They've observed their potato slicing and flawless flipping techniques, taken copious notes, and taste-tested many a tortilla to bring you their own authentic recipe. But first, here are our top tips to guide you along your tortilla adventures:
1) Be patient. Low and slow is the theme here. Don’t use high heat, don’t try to speed up the process.
2) Don’t skimp on the olive oil - and don’t use anything but olive oil. It might seem like you’re using an excessive amount, but this is what will make everything so delicious and tender in texture.
3) Season! Don’t forget about the salt or you’ll be left with a bland, sad tortilla.
4) To onion or not to onion? That is the contentious debate when it comes to tortilla, and people are divided into two definite camps. If using onions, take a little more time to caramelize them and you’ll be rewarded with a delectable treat full of flavour and an addictive sweetness. Take it from our Mimo San Sebastian head chef, Pato, “confit the onions in the oil first to get them golden and crispy - it takes the tortilla flavour to a whole other level!”
5) More wise words from Pato: “Always mix the egg with hot potatoes. This will warm up the mixture and means that it won’t need to cook for as long.”
6) Shake and swirl! Once you pour the eggy potato mixture into the pan, keep it in motion for a bit so that nothing gets burned.
7) Aim for custardy textures. This means flipping when the centre is still a bit loose. Overcooking will result in a dry tortilla. Which brings us to our next point:
8) Be confident in your flip! This is the part that you might fear the most, but you have to be confident and act quickly. Not hesitating! Swiftly flip the tortilla onto a large, flat plate, and then slide it pack into the pan.
9) Enjoy warm, cold, with a coffee in the morning, a cider at lunch, with salad for dinner, as a midnight snack… Bon appétit!
TORTILLA DE PATATAS
• 300 ml extra-virgin olive oil
• 500 g potatoes, peeled and diced
• 1 large onion, diced
• 8 organic eggs
1 Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and onions and cook until caramelized. Once cooked, drain the onions and reserve the oil. Use the same oil to cook the potatoes over medium-high heat, until they are soft.
2 In a large bowl beat the eggs. Add the hot potatoes, onions, and a generous pinch of salt, mixing gently until everything is incorporated. Let sit for a few minutes.
3 Heat a good non-stick sauté pan over medium-high heat with a bit of the reserved oil. Add the egg-potato mixture and cook for two minutes. Use a spatula to ensure the sides are not sticking to the pan. Then, take a big plate and place face down over the pan. Flip in one quick motion. Slide the tortilla back into the sauté pan and cook over low for a minute or two.
4 Return the tortilla to the plate and serve with a chunk of crusty bread.