I doubt if a Spaniard would recognise this version of a Spanish tortilla but it is more or less the recipe I grew up with – or rather the guidelines I grew up with since it was always too vague to be a recipe.
If you keep hens, as we tend to do, you find yourself at times with a lot of eggs so an egg dish becomes a main meal at least every couple of days. Our family tortilla is something of a dustbin recipe and therefore very cheap, especially if the eggs come from hens which are getting a proportion of their food as table scraps, insects and the slugs I gather every evening. (Don’t say ugh! this is the natural food of hens and they will be healthier an happier with slugs and insects, as well as grass and clover, in their diet.)
Yesterday we ate at one of Dublin’s tapas restaurants and our friends had tortilla. We looked at the pallid objects in the tapas dish and decided it wasn’t for us. We are used to bright orange yolks and a lightly browned surface. These slices had neither. So here is what I made for lunch today for three of us.
In quite a bit of olive oil I gently fried a small piece of left over salami, diced, about four scallions (spring onions if you are English), sliced, three medium potatoes, diced small, a slightly overgrown courgette, diced small. It became obvious that the potatoes were going to take their time to cook so I threw in a few tablespoons of water, put a well fitting lid on, set the timer for five minutes and went to watch Dustin Brown finishing off Leyton Hewitt at Wimbledon – this guy is quite something. When the timer went off I threw in half a cup of frozen peas, left at the bottom of a bag, and congratulated myself on clearing out some freezer space. Five more minutes of tennis followed and then I headed for the bowl where I keep the eggs on the counter – we write the date on each egg in pencil when we collect them so I used up the oldest which were laid five days ago. And a couple from four days ago. Six in all for the three of us. I turned on the grill, beat up the half dozen eggs with a pinch of salt, stirred the vegetables around and spread the eggs over them in the pan. Then I left everything alone on the gentle heat for a couple of minutes so that the base was quite well cooked but the top still liquid. Two more minutes under the grill and the top was set and lightly toasted. Normally I’d have spent that two minutes running out for some salad leaves from the garden but Tsonga was now on the screen so that was me rooted to the tv again. Maybe I’ll do something for dinner that involves salad instead.
Just time for a cup of tea and a couple more games of tennis and I’ll head out to plant up some more perennials in the bed I’m reviving in the back garden.