When summer nights are hot the best meals are often small bites that we graze on during the evening. Spanish-style tapas are one of my favorite small-plate meals and this tortilla is a perfect example. The Spanish tortilla is like a frittata; traditionally it includes potatoes and onions slow-cooked in lots of olive oil until tender, then bound together with beaten eggs and fried to a golden brown. It’s usually served warm or at room temperature, with garlic mayonnaise, olives, and pickles. The basic recipe is versatile and adaptable; I added roasted red bell pepper and peas for a colorful mix. If you have piquillo peppers they would be an ideal addition, as would some diced chorizo. Serve this as part of a tapas meal, an appetizer, or a light lunch or dinner with some leafy salad greens on the side. Enjoy a cool glass of sherry or sangria with your tortilla and you will have a very satisfying summer meal.
Spanish Tortilla with Roasted Peppers and Peas
(serves 4 to 6)
6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices *
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
salt and pepper
8 large eggs
1/2 cup chopped roasted red pepper; from a jar, or freshly roasted and peeled
1/2 cup peas, thawed if frozen
Toss 4 tablespoons oil, potatoes, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a generous grind of pepper in a large bowl until potato slices are thoroughly separated and coated in oil. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the potato mixture to the skillet, and set the bowl aside. Cover the potato mixture and cook, stiring with a heatproof silicone spatula every 5 minutes, until the potatoes offer no resistance when poked with a paring knife, about 20 to 25 minutes. (It’s okay if the slices break up a little). Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the reserved bowl until just combined. Using your silicone spatula, fold the hot potato mixture, red peppers, and peas into the eggs until combined, making sure to scrape all of the potato mixture out of the skillet. Return the skillet to medium-high heat, add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil, and heat until almost smoking. Now, working quickly, add the egg-potato mixture and cook, shaking the pan and folding the mixture constantly for about 15 seconds. Reduce the heat to medium, smooth the top of the mixture, cover, and cook, gently shaking the pan every 30 seconds until the bottom is golden brown and the top is lightly set, about 2 minutes. Using the spatula, loosen the tortilla from the pan, shaking back and forth until the tortilla slides around freely in the pan. Slide the tortilla onto a large plate, invert onto a second plate, and slide, browned side up, back into the skillet. Return the pan to medium heat and continue to cook, gently shaking the pan every 30 seconds, until the second side is golden brown, about 2 minutes longer. Slide the tortilla onto a cutting board or serving plate and cool for at least 15 minutes. Cut into cubes or wedges and serve.
*Slicing the potatoes is most efficiently done with a mandoline.
If you want to serve the tortilla with garlic mayonnaise, you can find a basic recipe here . Simply add a finely minced garlic clove (or two, if you want a more intense garlic flavor) and a pinch of smoked paprika.
(minimally adapted from “Skillet Dinners” by Cooks Illustrated)