Hungry & Grumpy? Try a Spanish Tortilla

Recently I came home later than usual only to discover I had not planned dinner. A big blank mist settled over me and my refrigerator as I poked about, looking for morsels and tidbits to satisfy the hungry, grumpy diner in me. Harrumph. It looked like eggs and maybe a potato.

Memories of Spain’s fantastic potato tortillas – frequently served as a tapas treat, came filtering back. Ah, yes, that’ll do ‘er! With a nod to the Spanish version which requires plenty of oil for frying, artful tossing in the pan, and attentive baby sitting, I instead opt for a gentler approach – one with the least effort and room for error. I begin by preheating my oven for an easy finish.
On further reconnaissance I unearth an onion, a few straggling cremini mushrooms and a couple ever present jalapeno peppers. This is looking more promising! Also there’s just enough marinated salad to round out the plate, along with a slice or two of dark bread – and a couple a spoonfuls of Romesco Sauce, gratefully salted away for such an occasion.

I can’t say enough about Romesco Sauce, if you haven’t tasted it, you owe yourself the distinct honor and pleasure of giving it a try. I treasure my supply of smoked paprika, which as far as I’m concerned, makes this a world class sauce. Similar to the French rouille, I actually prefer romeso for its depth and assertiveness. It’s all purpose at my house; I even use it as a base for pizza!

In the amount of time it takes to preheat the oven, the onion, garlic and veggies are sautéed, the potatoes are nicely pre-cooked and ready for their addition to the pan. I give my old standby quiche dish a light spritz with oil and begin assembling the tortilla. Done! Into the oven with just enough time to clean up the counters, handle a couple of odd chores, and return for a quick adjustment to low broil – and a gorgeous finish.

A recreational dining stalwart, I find the Spanish Tortilla extremely adaptable. Instead of mushrooms try sausage and/or other fresh vegetables. Serve it hot – or at room temperature, the Spanish preference. It’s good anytime, breakfast, lunch, dinner or in-between, and of course it’s the perfect candidate for brunch, picnics or potlucks. For that extra pizzazz, don’t forget the Romesco Sauce.

Dinner won’t be a mystery tomorrow night!

Spanish Tortilla with Potatoes and Mushrooms
Highly versatile and good anytime

2-3 medium potatoes, peeling optional, cut into 3/4″ chunks
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium green pepper, or 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded chopped
10 cremini mushrooms, trimmed and cut into 3 slices each
½ tsp. each dried sage and oregano
salt and pepper
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup each grated cheddar and jack or meltable cheese of choice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; spray a quiche dish, pie plate, or similar ovenware. Place potatoes in small pot, cover with salted water, bring to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes, until tender when poked. Drain. Combine eggs and milk, season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile in a sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil, add onion and toss til fragrant; add garlic and green pepper, cook about 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms and cook to soften. Toss in the potatoes season with sage and oregano or 1/3 cup fresh parsley if available, and heat to combine flavors.

Spread the potato mixture into the baking dish, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and pour the egg mixture even over the potatoes. Sprinkle with the cheddar and jack cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the eggs begin setting around the edges. Change the heat to broil setting, about 400 degrees for possible. If not, lower the rack to move the dish further from away heat source. Broil for about 5 minutes or until center is set and the top begins to brown. Serves 6 ~~.

Romesco Sauce
An all purpose standby, good with vegetables and any earthy grilled foods

1 slice country bread, trimmed, toasted or dried, 1/3 cup crumbled
½ cup water
1 cup red peppers, roasted, cut into chunks
1/2 cup almonds, whole, blanched and toasted
5 cloves garlic, minced fine, about 1 T
2 tablespoons Spanish paprika, smoked
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or lemon juice
1/3 cup water (approx.) or any pepper liquid if available
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2/3 cup olive oil

Soak the bread in about 1/2 cup water to soften, squeeze with hand to remove liquid and form a smooth dough-like panade.

In blender combine red pepper, nuts, garlic, paprika and pepper flakes and pulse to puree. Add the bread and sherry. With motor running, gradually add 1/3 water of pepper liquid to incorporate, then add the oil slowly, process until smooth and thick.

Adjust seasoning with salt and additional vinegar as needed. It should have a slight edge from the vinegar, but not overpowering. If too thick, thin with more liquid.

Chill and let flavors mellow. Stored in fridge, it will keep for 4 -5 days or longer. Can be frozen up to 1 month, by why bother? Yield: approx. 2 ½ cups.

Note: If Spanish paprika is unavailable: soften 1 dried mild pepper – New Mexico or pasillo chile along with chile pequin, in boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and reserve the liquid for later and cool, remove any stems + dash smoke flavoring. ~~

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