Inspiration for Sunday Brunch: Spanish Tortilla and Crisp Winter Salad

Spanish Tortilla & Escarole Salad

Spanish Tortilla served with Escarole Salad

I must give credit where credit is due. This meal was largely Hubs’ inspiration. In our penultimate CSA pick-up, we had a carton of freshly dug potatoes and an overstock of bell peppers. Hubs suggested a favorite dish of ours and ran with it: the traditional Spanish Tortilla. Not to be confused with corn or flour tortillas used in Mexican cuisine, the Spanish Tortilla is an egg omelet/frittata-like dish, usually served in wedges at tapas bar all over Spain, or a staple as part of a meal. It is a hearty dish, and really makes a perfect meal on a fall morning. You can serve it warm or cold, and like most of my suggestions, makes for great leftovers.

Last Sunday morning,  as soon as breakfast was over, Hubs got straight to work on the tortilla.  It does take some prep work, but as I mentioned, it is not a one meal wonder. The beauty of preparing the tortilla in the morning is that we had our lunch ready to go and waiting for us when we came in after a brisk fall walk. All I had to do was prepare the salad. We had a large bag of curly escarole, so I made a simple balsamic vinaigrette and served it on the salad. The slightly bitter, crispy crunch of the escarole was a perfect side for the egg and potato tortilla, served room temperature. I hope this meal inspires you, too. And props to Hubs.

Tortilla Espanola
 (adapted from Mark Bittman’s Spanish Potato Omelet recipe in How to Cook Everything)
Spanish Tortilla

Spanish Tortilla

1/3 cup olive oil
1 pound yukon gold or other white potato, sliced 1/8″ thick (you can peel if you wish)
1 onion, sliced
1 red or green bell pepper, washed and sliced thinly (optional)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
6 large eggs
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Using a 10″ cast iron pan, or other oven-proof pan or skillet, heat about 1/2 the olive oil on the stove top over a medium flame. Add the potatoes slices and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, turning the slices every few minutes. They are ready when softened and slightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Add remaining oil to pan, warm for a minute, then add the pepper and onion. Saute for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Then add the garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Return the potatoes to the skillet and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook the potatoes, peppers and onions together, turning occasionally for another 5 minutes or so.

Beat the eggs, add salt and pepper and the parsley. Reduce the flame to low and slowly pour the eggs over the potato mixture. Shake the pan to distriubte the eggs evenly and leave undisturbed for about 5 minutes. Once oven is hot, transfer to oven and bake for ~10 minutes. The tortilla is ready when the mixture is set on top. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Flip onto serving dish, or remove carefully with spatula. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Poached Eggs in Tunisian Red Pepper Sauce Sounds Better Than Green Juice

Poached Eggs with Tunisian Red Pepper Sauce & Chickpeas with Leeks, Spinach and Smoked Paprika. Courtesy of Bon Appetit

And it looks and tastes a heck of a lot better, too. This is post #2 in my series on the “So-called Cleanse” for food lovers. I found this dinner recipe mid-way through the 2 week menu from Bon Appetit’s Food Lover’s Cleanse and fell in love.  High-protein, vegetarian, healthy: Poached Eggs with Tunisian Red Pepper Sauce & Chickpeas with Leeks, Spinach and Smoked Paprika. I have already prepared this meal 3 times, sometimes with the accompanying chickpeas, sometimes without, and it is a hit. The red pepper sauce is delicious, with many flavors layered upon one another, and the real kicker is the harissa paste. Also, I have tons of bell peppers in the freezer from the CSA so finding this recipe was a bonus for me. 

Harissa Paste in tube

I had never purchased or used harissa until now, and I am intrigued.  was very glad that this recipe pushed me out of my comfort zone and exposed me to this new ingredient – spicy, smoky, colorful. All good.  Harissa comes in a tube or glass jar. And, WARNING! The level of spiciness can vary dramatically. I speak from experience. Have you used harissa?

The accompaniment, Chickpeas with Leeks, Spinach and Smoked Paprika, is also a great stand-alone dish. It takes about 10 minutes to prepare, is high-protein, vitamin-packed and flavorful. I enjoyed leftovers for lunch the next day and have prepared it for a quick meal without the Poached Eggs dish. I did make a few modifications to these recipes. Hubs is not a fan of poached eggs, so we substituted scrambled eggs and it worked. He seemed to enjoy his meal as much as I did, even without the richness of the poached egg’s yolk mixing with the spicy peppers. Hubs also seemed to enjoy the meal without the accompanying Chickpeas, as that remains a verboten food. Hubs was a good sport about the Cleanse overall, but apparently there are limits. See my modified recipe below.

Eggs with Tunisian Red Pepper Sauce (adapted from Bon Appetit)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, cut lengthwise into 1/2”-wide strips
  • 1  teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more for seasoning
  • 1  tomato, cored, grated using the large holes on a box grater
  • 1/2 tablespoon (or more) harissa paste (taste for level of desired heat)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar (if poaching eggs)
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

Preparation

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add peppers and 1 tsp. kosher salt and cook, stirring often, until peppers are wilted, 5—8 minutes. Add tomato, 1/2 Tbsp. harissa, and 1 cup water; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often and adding more water if too dry, until peppers are soft, 15—20 minutes. Season with kosher salt and more harissa, if desired. Keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, fill a large skillet with water if poaching eggs. Add vinegar and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt; bring to a simmer. Crack each egg into a teacup, then slide each one into the water; reduce heat to low. Poach eggs until whites are set and yolks are gently set, 3—4 minutes. Alternately, prepare scrambled eggs as you normally would in place of the poached eggs (no vinegar needed).
  • Divide pepper sauce among four warm bowls and top each with 2  poached eggs, or divide scrambled eggs. Season eggs with flaky sea salt.

Yield: 2 servings

Happy eating!

Truly Free-Range Organic Eggs are Quirky

Check these out – aren’t these eggs beautiful?

This is what a dozen eggs look like from an organic, family-run farm. No agribusiness here. Different sizes and colors, nothing uniform about them except they are all super tasty and flavorful. I picked these up at Wolfe Spring Farm on Saturday, and was lucky enough to snag a dozen. They go fast.