03.06.11: dinner (vegetable tortilla and a revisit of catalan meatball soup).

Tortilla de Vegetales

I have a confession to make, but I’m not sure how you’ll take it, so I’ll provide a little back story. It started on a Friday night and the conundrum of what to do for food for the week when we were traveling Saturday through Sunday morning (really, we were in Pennsylvania for less than 24 hours) and so Friday we I spent the evening poring through cookbooks and logging some ingredients into our Fresh Direct order.

As I read the list of ingredients from The Book of Tapas, Michael surmised that we were making “a more complicated version of a Western omelette.” Suddenly warning bells sounded in my ear, urging me to proceed with caution. I took solace in the fact that the tortilla we were making was only one of two dishes, and the second was a longtime favorite: Catalan meatball soup.

Why the worry, you ask? I’ll be frank: I don’t like omelets.

I can’t explain this particular phenomenon except for the fact that for a long time,  I was rather fickle about eggs and about various foods “touching” each other. I’m pretty sure that had the option been available to me, I would have likely grown up happily using one of those three-sectioned plates well into an age when it was not at all appropriate. Instead, I had to make my own, creating clear “areas” for each food–because God forbid my broccoli even be within spitting distance of my spaghetti and meatballs. So the idea of eggs and vegetables all mangled together in one mess has never sit well with me–even though I actually do really like tortillas and to a lesser extent, frittatas.

Catalan Meatball Soup

Maybe one day I’ll get over my aversion to omelets, but in the meantime I’ll content myself with eating tortillas–especially the one above. A friend/reader wrote to me after we gave tortilla-making another try a few months ago and implored me to make one with onions, because they taste absolutely amazing when onions are involved. To be honest, I was surprised that the Spanish tortilla recipe in The Book of Tapas didn’t call for them, but we went along with the recipe anyway (as we didn’t want another hairy flipping situation to take place by adding in too many extra ingredients). Besides, a good tortilla pan isn’t very large to begin with, so real estate is at a premium.

Vegetable Tortilla

In actuality, though, you can add in quite a large number of ingredients into a tortilla so long as you work in batches and let them cook down sufficiently. In this case the vegetables brown as they release their water, so you get the added bonus of caramelized goodness that makes the finished product both sweet and savory. We feasted on the soup while this took place, Michael getting up every few minutes to check on the pan and add in more vegetables to the pan. The eggs were added and then left to set, and then with the aid of a nice large plate the flip took place over the cutting board, the tortilla then slipped back into the pan to finish on the other side.

This is a fantastic way to increase your vegetable consumption and go meatless; believe me, no one will miss the meat that much.

¡Buen provecho!

Vegetable Tortilla

adapted from The Book of Tapas

  • 8 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, halved, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, halved, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 2 ripe, red tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
  • Kosher salt

In a large bowl, crack open 8 eggs (I’d do each individually in a ramekin just in case one is bad before adding to the main bowl) and whisk until frothy, add a healthy pinch two of salt and whisk some more. Set aside.

Take a 10-11″ nonstick pan, add the olive oil, and on low heat add all of the chopped vegetables save for the tomatoes in batches, letting them cook down and then pushed out to the sides of the pan as each new batch comes in. This will take about 10-15 minutes in all to do, and to help the process along gradually increase the amount of heat to about medium. When all of the vegetables have cooked down, tip in the egg mixture and let set and get a little golden brown. Be patient here–run a spatula underneath it to check it after a few minutes have elapsed and when you can easily lift it to check for brownness, it’s ready to flip. Cover the pan with a large plate over a cutting board or countertop, carefully (and fluidly) flip the pan over, and then slide the tortilla back into the pan, uncooked side down. Give it a few more minutes to set, and then remove from the pan, let cool, slice into wedges and either serve immediately, at room temperature, or chilled. The latter is delicious when tortilla is placed between two pieces of whole-grain toast.

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3 comments
  1. Two things: first, I am surprised too that a book of Tapas would make a tortilla without onions…My two grandmas were Spanish, so I grew up with tortilla, and onions give them a kick. Second, maybe because my grannies did them so well, if there is one thing I invariably fail is tortillas. I just can’t make them!! I can make macarons but not tortillas!!!
    Your tortilla looks great!

  2. Marta said:

    Y OLÉ! :D That’s really, really great!

  3. That looks great! I have only ever made the potato and onion tortilla! I will have to try that one.

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