Monday, April 28, 2008

A Simply Delicious Brunch

I was all kinds of lazy on Saturday, recuperating from an EXTREMELY difficult week at school (not bad, just insanely busy). And I don't mind telling you that I spent the better part of my day dozing off and on to the soft, soporific drone of the Food Network. At some point, I woke up to that vivacious Latina with the inexplicably Germanic name...Ingrid Hoffman of Simply Delicioso. I haven't seen the show enough to have much of an opinion of her. However, she seems evidence of the latest Food Network trend to only employ and televise "chefs" that look like supermodels. Plus, I have seen her hawking Tostitos cheese sauce on the regular networks, and if that doesn't scream SELL OUT, I don't know what does! (And you thought RR and Dunkin' Donuts was bad!)

All of my suspicions of Ms. Hoffman aside, on the program Saturday, she made a tapas menu that included a delectable-looking Spanish tortilla. No, not tortilla tortillas--rather, the big, oven-baked Spanish version of an omelette (more like an Italian fritatta) filled with sliced potatoes. One glance, and I knew it must be mine....oh yes, it must. It was not a difficult recipe per se, but you have to fuss with it a lot: into the pan, out of the pan, back in the pan, flipped out and then back in the pan--and from stovetop back to stovetop to oven and back to the oven again. Despite my trepidations about undercooked potatoes or losing the tortilla on the big flip, it turned out perfectly! We shamelessly ate two slices apiece along with the excellent sausages that we got a couple of weeks ago at Conroy's Organics. Cyd also enjoyed her brunch with some little Campari tomatoes from the Jean-Talon Market in Montreal. It's nowhere near in full swing yet--the outside vendors/stalls aren't even set up. But it was so nice last weekend that we had to go see what, if anything, they had to offer. Of course, these aren't the magical tomatoes of late summer/early fall, but until that blessed, fleeting time, greenhouse-grown Camparis will surely tide a person over. And they go great with a Spanish tortilla!

Simple Spanish Tortilla
(Source: Ingrid Hoffman,
Simply Delicioso)

1/2 cup olive oil
4 large Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/8-inch thick, see Cook's Note*
1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
6 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnishing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heat the olive oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and add the potato slices a few at a time so they don't stick together. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are tender and the onions are golden but not brown, about 10 minutes. Place a strainer over a bowl in your sink and transfer the potatoes and onions to drain; reserve the oil.

Whisk the eggs, milk, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Drain excess oil off of the potato mixture. Add the potatoes and onions to the egg mixture and combine until they are completely mixed in. Set the bowl aside for about 15 minutes to let the potatoes release some of their starches into the eggs.

Heat 3 tablespoons of the reserved olive oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high for 1 minute. Add the egg-potato mixture, rotating the skillet in a circular motion to distribute it evenly. Lower the heat to medium-low and shake the pan a few times to prevent sticking (by shaking the pan, you ensure that the eggs and potatoes release from the pan bottom). Cook the tortilla for about 5 minutes or until the potatoes on the bottom start to turn golden brown. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until almost set. Remove from the oven and place a large flat plate on top of the skillet and invert the skillet. The tortilla should come right out. Add a tablespoon of the reserved olive oil to the skillet and slide the tortilla back in to cook the other side until it is golden-brown, about 5 minutes.

Turn the heat off and set the skillet aside until the tortilla cools to room temperature. Transfer the tortilla to a plate sprinkle with parsley and serve at room temperature cut into triangles or squares.

*Cook's Note: The Yukon potatoes should be sliced using a mandolin.

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