Tortilla Española

A piece of tortilla española at Alhambra Restaurant in Madrid

As I said in my last post, tortilla española is a common Spanish dish eaten in a variety of ways.  For that reason, any Spanish-themed meal or tapas dinner party ought to have some tortilla española.  Much like its short list of ingredients, the preparation is fairly simple.  The most daunting aspect is flipping the tortilla while frying!  If you follow the cooking instructions carefully, though, you shouldn’t have a problem.  When I lived in Madrid, my sister and I futilely tried to make this on our own without looking up a recipe.  We boiled potatoes in water and threw it into some beaten eggs.  We didn’t use enough oil, didn’t know to set the potatoes in the eggs or sear the tortilla and used a spatula while frying the tortilla.  It came out more like a potato onion mess than a tortilla.  After following Teresa Barranechea’s recipe, however, I’ve only made (mostly) beautiful tortillas since!  It continues to impress friends and coworkers to this day.

Last week, I made two tortilla españolas for a work picnic.  I usually use a 9-inch non-stick skillet to fry the tortilla.  I’ve never used a cask iron, but you’d probably get great if not even better results with one.  Unfortunately, I made them at my boyfriend’s place and he only had a 10-inch paella type pan.  I had to make do, but know that it’s easier with a nice long handle.  You’ll see why!  I also increased the recipe by 50%, so my tortillas came out bigger than they normally would with this recipe.  Anyway, off to the recipe!

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Bocadillos in Madrid

A sign outside a "cafeteria" in Madrid advertises their selection of bocadillos

I studied abroad in Madrid for a year during undergrad, and while my student budget did not allow me to try as many restaurants as I would have liked, I was still able to sample a variety of Spanish food.  A recent class in Bologna this summer gave me the opportunity to go stop off in Madrid and return to old favorite eateries.

Bocadillos are inexpensive sandwiches served on baguette-style bread and are often eaten during the day.  The meat or whatever they use inside the bocadillo is usually very simple such as sliced ham, anchovies, salt, and/or cheese with little to no sauce inside.  You can, of course, request a side of “mayonesa” (mayonnaise) if your heart desires but may find little else with which to lather up your “pan.”

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