As I write this, it’s 32 degrees on our ‘cool’ north-facing terrace, in the shade. The doors and windows are open, and the fans are going full pelt. I can’t have air conditioning, as I have an issue with my lungs and it’s not a good idea to have aircon in the home, although I welcome it for a temporary respite from the heat when we’re out and about.
It’s the sort of weather when you really don’t feel like eating, but you have to have something to keep body and soul together, don’t you? Salads are favourite, but there are only so many variations you can eat before you feel you never want to see another lettuce leaf as long as you live. So what do you do then? Here at Casa Luna, on La Finca, one of our favourite hot weather meals is home made tortilla. It’s great in the winter too, with baked beans and a few lovely Spanish sausages, but during the heat of the summer, we have it around once every week to ten days. It’s also an ideal snack for picnics and boat trips as it’s easily portable.
I love the standard tortilla, with just potatoes, onions, eggs and seasoning, but when we’re eating it regularly during the summer, I like to ring the changes by adding some vegetables and bacon bits or cooked sausage. It’s quick, cheap and easy to make, and I tend to make a large one that will feed Glenys and myself for a couple of days, because it’s delicious cold as well as hot. It’s gluten free too, so it was very useful when we went on a boat trip with a friend who follows a gluten free diet.
We tend to have toast or garlic bread with it one day, and salad or a nice big serving of home made coleslaw the next. Here’s my recipe, and please feel free to add your own variations in the comments.
Sandra’s Special Tortilla (serves 4 as a main meal or up to 8 people as tapas)
- 6 -8 eggs, depending on size of eggs and the pan you are using.
- 1 large or 2 small potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced and cut into small pieces 1 – 2 cm
- 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped.
- Approx 100 g of bacon or ham bits, often called tacos or taquitos in Spanish supermarkets. (or chop up some bacon rashers or cooked sausages).
- A few mushrooms
- 1 small piquillo pepper, or half a standard pepper
- Olive oil for cooking
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wrap potatoes in kitchen paper to remove any moisture while you heat olive oil in a fairly large frying pan. (For a smaller tortilla, halve all the ingredients and use a smaller pan)
- Fry potatoes for about 5 minutes, then add chopped onions and peppers, stirring frequently so nothing sticks to the pan. When onions are clear and potatoes are soft, add bacon bits or sausage and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes more until everything is cooked through.
- Meanwhile, place about 100 – 150 ml cold water in a large mixing bowl and add the eggs. (The water makes for a lighter texture in the finished tortilla). Beat with a hand-held whisk, incorporating plenty of air into the mixture. I don’t use an electric whisk, as this could lead to holes in the tortilla, resulting in uneven cooking and an undesirable texture.
- Season with freshly ground sea salt and pepper, then add the mix to the pan and reduce the heat. Once the eggs go in, don’t stir again, as the tortilla needs to set and cook from the bottom of the pan upwards.
- Heat the grill, and when the edges of the omelette are starting to set, but there is still liquid in the centre, place the pan under the grill, making sure the handle is away from the heat so you can remove it safely later.(See image below for guidance) Once the top is browned evenly and lightly puffed up in the pan, the tortilla is cooked.
- Allow to cool for a few moments before cutting into portions and serving. If the top of the tortilla looks a little oily, blot with kitchen paper before portioning. Enjoy!