The great thing, at least to me, about being inspired by the food you eat while traveling is that you never know what’s going to strike your fancy. Certain places might spark some more obvious dishes, like when we go to Barcelona and Saint Sebastian, but others can catch me completely off-guard, and that’s what happened when we stayed in Hollywood, Florida at the Margaritaville Beach Resort. M had a conference to go to at the property, and I came along to take advantage of that sweet, sweet two-month promotional companion pass on Southwest.
We met up with M’s boss and her husband not long after they arrived on the first day of our stay, and we convened at the Landshark Bar and Grill overlooking the Landshark Pool on-property. They were pretty hungry from their flight while we had enjoyed a nice lunch earlier, so at first I wasn’t inclined to eat much until I saw that they had ordered the restaurant’s version of nachos–what they call beach chips.
In essence, the dish basically works as a deconstructed baked potato: they load up house-made potato chips with bacon bits, melted cheese, chives, and sour cream. They were incredibly good and I made a note to myself to order them one more time before we left because I had this idea that I could incorporate all of this into what would be a very, very good potato chip tortilla for brunch or dinner.
In the middle of the afternoon on Monday, I went back and ordered some beach chips for myself so I could spend some time analyzing the flavors and a plan came together pretty quickly for how I was going to transform these ingredients into a tortilla, starting with some classic sour cream and onion potato chips.
The tricky thing about the potato chip tortilla is that you have to account for the seasoning of the potato chips and any other ingredients you put into it or else it will turn into a salt lick very quickly. This takes a little trial and error, and for this recipe I actually don’t add any salt to the egg mixture because you have the chips, the cheese, and the cooked pancetta to all add seasoning. If your chips are not quite as salty, you can add a half-teaspoon of kosher salt to the egg mixture but again: proceed with caution.
Finished with some sea salt and a dollop of creme fraiche, it’s a really satisfying meal at brunch, dinner, or even as part of a tapas spread. Even better is that it’s a great excuse to buy a bag of really good sour cream and onion potato chips if you haven’t had any for some time.
The Landshark Beach Chips tortilla (inspired by Margaritaville)
Serves 2 very hungry people or 4 as part of a tapas spread
- ¼ lb pancetta, finely diced
- 7 eggs
- 4 oz sour cream and onion chips
- ¼ cup grated cheddar cheese, preferably sharp or Irish cheddar
- 2 TB sliced scallions, plus more for garnish
- Coarse sea salt, for finishing (if needed)
- Creme fraiche, for serving (optional)
In a medium nonstick pan, gently cook the pancetta on low to medium-low heat until the pancetta crips, about 10 minutes. Scoop out the pancetta onto paper towels to drain and reserve the fat for making the tortilla.
In a medium bowl, crack and whisk 6 of the eggs. Add the potato chips and stir, coating the chips with the eggs, and let sit for 5 minutes. Add the seventh egg, the cheese, the scallions, and the pancetta, and stir well to combine. If your chips aren’t super-salty, add maybe a half-teaspoon of kosher salt to the mixture (but really, there are a lot of salty products here so adding more will render it inedible).
In a small nonstick pan, heat two tablespoons of the reserved pancetta fat on medium heat, and add the tortilla mixture into the pan when the fat is shimmering. Use a silicone or wooden spatula to scramble the eggs briskly, and then swirl the eggs over the heat for 20 seconds to help the eggs coagulate. Turn down the heat to low and cook for another minute.
Turn off the heat, take a plate that is larger than your pan, and flip the pan so the tortilla goes on the plate. If the pan is dry, add more fat to the pan (you likely won’t), and turn the heat back on to medium-low. Gently ease the tortilla, raw side down, back into the pan, and let cook for another 90 seconds to two minutes more. Turn off the heat, place a clean plate onto the pan, flip it again, and serve.
Cut the tortilla into wedges (there will be runny eggs still because that’s how it’s done in Spain), garnish with extra scallions and creme fraiche if desired, and finish with a little sea salt if desired.