Spanish Asparagus & Potato Tortilla

IMG_9419Hi Music Loving friends–  Last weekend Larry and I trekked up to the Hollywood Bowl for the requisite picnic and a balmy summer evening out under the moon with James Taylor. We’ve been fans of his forever –a whole lot of nostalgia listening to all those songs…  Couldn’t have been more fun!

But back to the the picnic!– We nabbed a picnic table outside the Bowl and settled in for a Spanish picnic– salami, cheeses, olive, bottle of wine, olives… and of course, a tortilla.  Usually I stick to the classic potato and onion tortilla, but for our night out on the town, I threw in some asparagus too.

3 medium Russet potatoes, peeled & cut into smallish chunks
6 sturdy stalks of asparagus*
1 yellow onion
olive oil
5 eggs
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

IMG_9435Peel and cut the potatoes into smallish chunks.  Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and then cut the stalks into tidy little rounds.  Peel and chop the onion to bits.

Heat a large nonstick skillet with a good splash of olive oil in the pan.  Drop in the potatoes and cook them , stirring now and then, for about 6 -8 minted, until they just start to brown.  Give them a sprinkle of salt and a few cranks of pepper as they cook.  Then add in the onion ad asparagus.  Use a bit more oil if the pan seems dry.

When the potatoes are nicely browned and the onions and asparagus are cooked through (about 4 -5 more minutes)  take the pan off the stove.  Transfer the potato mixture to a plate and wipe out the skillet.

Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl and liberally sprinkle with salt & pepper. Add the potatoes in with the eggs and let them sit for 5 minutes.

Put the skillet back on the heat with a couple tablespoons of olive oil. When it’s hot, pour the eggs potato mixture into the pan.  Reduce the hear to medium-low and cook for about 5 minutes until the bottom side is browned and set and the top is pretty firm.

Now here comes the tricky part.  Put a large dinner plate on top the the skillet and flip it over so that the tortilla falls upside down onto the plate.  Then ever so carefully slide the tortillas cooked side up back into the skillet to cook the bottom side for another 5 minutes or so until the whole thing is cooked through.  (You can use a sharp knife to dig in a test it.)

When it’s done, slide it onto a pretty plate and cut into wedges to serve with other tapa-ish foods for a summer supper under the stars.

*I usually like think asparagus with tender young stalks, but for this the thicker kind is best.

photoP.S.  Here’s our view midway up the hill at the Hollywood Bowl.  Super fun evening with 17,000 other James Taylor fans– by the second encore “How Sweet It is to Be Loved by You,”  we were all swaying and singing along.


Potato, Ham and Spinach Tortilla

IMG_7997Hi you all–  This is all a bit confusing.  Our years in Spain, I learned to make Spanish tortilla–not to be confused with the Mexican variety we consume by the millions here in California.  It’s a potato-egg confection, similar to an Italian frittata. This version has a decidedly American bent.  All that aside, I just submit that it’s really good, homestyle, warm food for a winter’s evening.

3 russet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/2″ chunks
1 yellow onion, minced
olive oil
garlic salt
4 eggs
dash salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1 cup smoky ham, cut in bits
1 cup spinach, chopped to slivers
1/2 cup cheddar, grated

Thoroughly cook the potatoes in a nonstick pan with the olive oil.  About half way through, throw in the onion & ham and season with garlic salt. Meanwhile, crack the 4 eggs into a large bowl and season with salt and the ground pepper.  Beat them together and after the potatoes are beginning to brown take them off the heat and let them cool for 10 minutes.  Then drop the potatoes and spinach into the bowl of eggs and let them sit for 5 minutes to really coat the potatoes.

Here is the fun part.  Wipe out the pan so it’s smooth and clean.  Add a couple tablespoons of oil heat the pan.  Pour the eggs and potatoes into the heated pan and cook on medium heat until the bottom is browned and the eggs are mostly set.  Then cover the top of the pan with a large plate and flip it over onto the plate.  Slide the tortilla back into the pan cooked side up and let it cook on medium low for another 5-8 minutes until the bottom is browned as well.

You can eat this cold like Spaniards do for picnics or make tortilla sandwiches on thick slabs of crunchy Spanish bread.  But I like it best piping hot and sitting by fireplace with a bright salad.  Que aproveche!