Ulrich's Mama's Tortilla
Our friend Ulrich Lenffer is 6'7" and plays drums in the band Cloud Control. Here, he talks us through the basics of tortilla española on a lazy Saturday afternoon during his visit from Australia.
Tortilla is a humble dish that featured heavily throughout Ulrich's childhood. Mostly it was made like this, and other days, when time was of the essence, his mother cheated and used left over fries from Sunday's fish and chips. Either way, it was only these few basic ingredients and always delicious.
Serves 4-6 people — Prep takes 10 minutes — Cooking takes 40-50 minutes
Ingredients for the tortilla
600g firm, waxy potatoes
2 onions, thinly sliced
6 large eggs
700ml vegetable oil (olive oil or whatever you've got in the cupboard)
5 tbsp olive oil
Begin by heating the olive oil in a heavy-based skillet. When almost smoking, add the onions with a pinch of salt and turn the heat to low. Slowly fry, stirring occasionally for 20-30 minutes, or until they are golden and jammy. Remove with a slotted spoon, but reserve the oil in the pan.
Cut the potatoes in half lengthways, then slice into 5mm thick rounds and place in a medium sized pot. Cover with vegetable oil and place pan over high heat until the oil just starts to warm, then reduce heat to low-medium. You want the oil to be bubbling gently without spitting and the idea is to soften the potatoes without colouring. Once softened, drain the potatoes into a sieve, reserving the oil which can be used another time.
While the potatoes as cooking, briefly whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl with a pinch of salt. Add the potatoes and onion once they have cooled a little, and stir until just combined. Add another pinch of salt and pepper.
Reheat the olive oil in the skillet over high heat until almost smoking. Pour the potato mixture in with one hand, whilst shaking the pan in a circular motion with the other you're aiming for the traditional rounded edges. Turn down to low-medium and cook for about 5 minutes.
Run a knife around the circumference of the tortilla to ensure that it is loose from the skillet, then place a large plate over the pan and quickly flip the plate and pan over so that the tortilla is on the plate. Heat a little more olive oil in the pan and then gently slide the tortilla back into the pan, uncooked side down. Cook for another 5 minutes on this side, using a wooden spoon to shape the edges into a round, frisbee-like bevel.
When the tortilla still has a little wobble in it, turn the heat off and let it cool in the skillet. The residual heat will finish the cooking without turning it to rubber. Serve at room temperature with a simple salad and some aioli.