There were some just surviving potatoes left out on my worktop yesterday. Those little washed ones of indeterminate origin, as well as an onion that was trying to grow into a plant before expiring, so I was thinking of what to make of them before they needed to be binned. With our recent purchase of chorizo(ed?) morcilla, the Godzilla of Chorizo (sorry, couldn’t resist) and that box of Spanish smoked paprika, I knew exactly where this was going: Tortilla Espagñola.
Five simple ingredients, a moderate effort and one is rewarded with a wonderful dish big enough to serve four. Add a simple salad and a few ripe tomatoes sprinkled with salt a little more paprika and you have a feast for the Gods. Or at least for a couple of hungry mortals. Morcilla, for the uninitiated is Spanish black pudding, or blood sausage. The one I’m using is Chorizo Morcilla, so double the joy! If you are wondering where to get Spanish products, check out https://www.mysybaritas.com/, which is a small, privately owned and run importer and retailer of Spanish goods. Word of advice to the faint-hearted; If you can eat those Chinese duck liver sausages, you will enjoy morcilla. Just don’t think of the blood.
Before we get started, I have to point out that I’m not Spanish, have no Spanish aunties who taught me how to make “the real tortilla” suckling a newborn while stirring potatoes over a hot coal stove, so apart from having eaten a fair amount of them in Spain, I’m pretty much flying blind. But don’t let that deter you. The end result, whether authentic or not, is delicious.
Tortilla con Morcilla – Potato Omelette with Spanish Blood Sausage
I like writing “Blood Sausage” because the idea of a sausage made of blood freaks some people out. I’m a bit mean like that. If you just can’t bring yourself to it, you can easily replace the blood thing with plain old chorizo sausage. Just make sure you buy a fresh, soft one. Just squeeze it when no one is looking and you’ll get this one right. And if you don’t do pork, use lamb chorizo, or even lamb merguez! But please go and order a little tub of proper Spanish smoked paprika, like this one. Your tortilla really needs that.
makes 1 medium tortilla, 8 small slices
- 600g potatoes
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 120g onion
- 30g garlic
- 50g morcilla, Spanish black pudding sausage
- ¼ tsp Spanish smoked paprika
- 2 Tbsp duck fat
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 6 eggs
- salt & black pepper
Peel, wash and slice the potatoes to about 2-3mm thickness, then cut each slice into rough quarters. Put the potato slices into a bowl of water, wash and drain. Fill with water again. Add one tablespoon of salt to the water and stir to dissolve. Leave the potatoes in there for at least half an hour.
Peel the onions, cut them in half and slice fine. Crush the garlic, peel and chop it not too fine. Remove the skin from the morcilla, slice and then cut into thin strips. You want the sausage to crumble in the pan, so don’t worry if it’s not cut very evenly.
Drain and dry your potatoes. A cloth kitchen towel works very well for this. Don’t worry about breaking some of the potato slices. No one will notice. Crack your eggs into a bowl that is large enough to hold all your ingredients as well as the eggs. Salt the eggs with three pinches of salt and a heavy grind of pepper.
Heat the duck fat in a frying pan with sloped sides. Once the fat is nice and hot, add the onion, reduce the heat and fry for about 3 minutes, until the onions are starting to soften. The idea at this stage is to get them to be soft, but not brown. Once softened, push them to one side of the pan and add the morcilla slices to the other side and fry them until they start to render their fat, which should be quite quickly. Now mix them with the onions and continue to fry for a minute.
I am using a 28cm Pujadas 1921 pan with a 5.5cm rim. It might be the fact that it’s made in Spain that it is so perfect for making tortillas and omelettes. If you wonder why you could never shape your omelettes like a professional, get yourself one of these. Of course if you actually DO ponder this question, you need to get yourself a life too.
Pujadas is not a brand you will find in stores, but if you pop over to Everest Hotel & Restaunt Supplies http://everesthrs.com/ you can pick some good stuff up for a reasonable price. The website looks rather sleek, but don’t let that fool you, the shop does not. (Dear people at “everest”, please rethink your double colour logo, because it looks like you are offering a different kind of service.
Add the potatoes and toss them about in the pan to mix evenly with the onions and morcilla. Sprinkle the paprika over the whole thing, salt lightly and pepper quite heavily. Increase the heat to max and leave the potatoes to take on some colour. Don’t move them about all the time, just wait for them to brown, then toss them and leave again. Once your potatoes are golden and just cooked, take the pan off the heat and leave to cool for a minute or two.
Pour your potato mix into the eggs and stir to coat all evenly. Return the pan to the heat and fry the omelette without moving it on a lowish heat. You may need to fold the edges that set quickly over to the top of the tortilla. Once the top of the tortilla has set enough to be turned over, grab a big plate, cover the pan with it and deftly flip the whole thing over. Gently lift the pan off, return it to the heat, add a tablespoon of olive oil and slide the tortilla into the pan. Tuck the edges under the tortilla to give you that perfect tortilla shape. Once the tortilla is fully cooked (but not dried out), slide it onto a large serving plate.
NOTE: Tortilla is actually nicer when it has cooled down a bit and it’s good at room temperature too, so this is an ideal party dish. And just in case you were wondering; neither mysybaritas nor everest pay me commission or give me free stuff. It’s just where I shop and I like to share these suppliers you may not know about.
Hausfrauen Ratschlag – Tip:
You can just as well make this tortilla plain, without any meat. But try it with thinly sliced prawns, quickly marinated with salt, smoked paprika and a little chopped, fresh rosemary. Fry the heads and shells of the prawns in duck fat or olive oil, discard the shells after colouring the oil and continue with the oil as above.