Sunday, 28 November 2010

Spanish Tortilla with Bacon

There are certain times when, for whatever reason, we haven't been able to make it to the supermarket to purchase what we intended having for dinner. This may be due to time constraints, other circumstances beyond our control, or any one of a number of reasons. Today, my reason was the weather. The snow, the cold and the horrendous road conditions led to me taking a look in the cupboards and the refrigerator to see what I could come up with for dinner from the supplies I already had available and thus eliminate the need to go out.

I had plenty of eggs, bacon, onions and potatoes - among other ingredients - and quickly decided to make a Spanish style tortilla with bacon. Tortilla is a word which refers to different foodstuffs in different countries but in Spain it refers to a type of substantial omelette, incorporating vegetables, usually onions and potatoes. I had a bag of mixed vegetables in the freezer, some of which I decided I would boil up to serve as an accompaniment.

Ingredients for the Tortilla

3 eggs
4 rashers of bacon
1 medium to large potato
1 small onion
2 or 3 fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil


A Spanish tortilla will normally incorporate the potato and onion in a chunky and rustic fashion. I decided to take a slightly different approach on this occasion and use a finer and more symmetrical approach. I therefore sliced the potato and onion to a thickness of perhaps slightly just under 1/4". I used 7 slices of potato and four of onion in this dish.

It is necessary to cook the potatoes and the bacon prior to assembling the Spanish tortilla. Cooking the onion is optional but I have in this instance elected to do so. I added some olive oil to a frying pan and fried the potato slices over a medium heat for four minutes each side, the onion slices for one minute each side and the bacon until it was cooked but only just and not crisped. Note that this should be done in batches but there is no need to keep the component parts warm as they will be reheated during the cooking of the actual tortilla.

There are clearly no rules for assembling the Spanish tortilla. What I did here, however, was firstly wipe the pan (carefully - it will be hot!) with some kitchen towel. I then added some more olive oil and brought it up to a medium heat before forming a circle comprised of a potato slice, then onion, then potato, then bacon and repeat. I scattered the roughly torn basil leaves over the top of the meat and vegetables, before beating the eggs, seasoning them well with salt and pepper and gently pouring them over the top. The forming tortilla should be cooked over a medium heat until the egg is almost completely set.

The frying pan should then be placed under a preheated, overhead grill for a couple of minutes to finish setting the egg. When this is achieved, you may wish to scatter some grated cheddar cheese over the tortilla and put the pan back under the grill just until this melts and begins to bubble.

The Spanish tortilla with bacon is then ready to be served and consumed. You can either eat it as is, or half it to serve two, accompanied by perhaps the mixed veg I have used and some pickled beetroot. You may also wish to note that Spanish tortillas are also frequently eaten cold and are every bit as delicious.

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