MEL × RIVERBEND: Herbaceous Spanish Tortilla de papa
RECIPE SPONSORED BY RIVERBEND GARDENS
Eggs are seldom only eggs.
I'd love to say I grew up on quiches and variations there of, but the truth is I mostly have fond memories of eating them in small restaurants and food-court lunches in Montreal with my cousin, Cat. When she worked downtown, I would go meet her every so often for lunch and we would have this beautiful quiche in a little sandwich & soup place near her office.
Those fun loving lunches, filled with laughter and all matter of things not only left me with an immense sense of joy, but they introduced me to a gloriously fluffy egg dish, typically filled with vegetables and herbs. I was smitten with quiche and always thought it must be immensely difficult to reproduce. Little did I know.
As the years went on, I then discovered the French omelette (thank you Julia Childs), the Italian frittata & finally the Spanish tortilla. While I loved them all for their differences, and they all have a place in my kitchen, these days I have to admit I'd rather not turn on the oven for a plate of eggs.
Call it laziness if you must, but if I'm hosting a group of girlfriends or enjoying this by myself, I like to just be able to cover for a few minutes, let it fluff up to a soft pillowy goodness, then rest and scoop it right into my mouth.
Tortilla, Quiche & Frittata
To crust or not to crust? To add dairy or not add dairy? To pan fry or bake? Ahh! How many existential questions can possibly surround a good plate of well whisked eggs?
Truth be told, this recipe falls somewhere in the middle. While it does include yogurt for fluffiness (which I love to substitute in the place of a more traditional creme fraiche), it's crust-less so by definition not a quiche, which usually comes in a crisp, flaky, well buttered crust. Both the filling ingredients and the egg are set together in a pan, so one could argue it's truly a frittata, yet it's loaded with potatoes which is most often found in tortilla.
The way it's cooked and set also makes a difference. Typically a quiche is baked in the oven. While a frittata is started in a hot pan and finished in the oven & a tortilla is done completely stove top by flipping it halfway (if you're a ninja) or covering immediately after adding the egg mixture which is the technique I've used here.
Let me say that all three types of egg filled dishes are divine, but this one has a special place in our kitchen.
Not all potatoes are created equal & exploring the different varieties is definitely part of the perks of getting a Riverbend Garden CSA share. In this recipe, I used the Mozart variety (beautiful pink on the outside and yellow flesh on the inside) because it lends itself well to be smashed or mashed. I find that it tends to be a little bit more tender than most, but cooked the way I've done it here it doesn't quite fall apart.
Each potato has it's purpose, because of how the flesh is composed. Some are better boiled, others baked or even make the perfect french fries. If you're curious about which direction to head when you're facing a new potato, there's a handy-dandy little page right here that can give you some insight.
What can I put in tortilla?
Well the traditional take is potatoes (Tortilla de Papa) to start and then truly you can add what ever you like. Softer vegetables tend to do well in here, especially if you give them a chance to release their water before pouring in the egg mixture. Think of onions, shallots, peppers, zucchini or even greens like spinach or kale.
In this version, I focused on aromatics and herbs. So I skipped the vegetables in favor of chives, shallots, garlic & parsley and it always turns out perfectly lovely.
10-12 fingerling potatoes
1 clove garlic
1 medium shallot
½ C chopped chives
½ C chopped parsley
2 T butter, divided
1 T yogurt
2 T milk
1 t olive oil
Salt & pepper
10 MIN PREP + 20 MINS COOK
Start by dicing your potatoes into uniform bite size pieces and placing them in a small pan with enough water to cover.
Boil the potatoes over medium heat until all the water has evaporated then add 1 T of butter and reduce heat to medium low to allow the potatoes to finish cooking and brown slightly.
In the meantime, chop your garlic, chives, shallot and parsley, then add them to the potatoes & mix well.
In a small bowl, mix eggs, yogurt, milk, olive oil, pinch of salt & pepper until you have a uniform blend.
Give the potatoes a good stir, then pour over the eggs and give the pan a quick shake to ensure even distribution.
Cover with the pan lid and cook until the middle is set, about 5-6 minutes.
WASTE LESS TIP
Herbs tend to be the ficklest of friends in the kitchen, but many of them (basil, garlic, parsley shallot, chives for example) can be stored frozen in ice cubes covered in olive oil. Just remove them to sealed containers once frozen. Others can be hung to dry for later use.