Light Yet Hearty Springtime Spanish Tortilla

19 May

The pressure was on! We had an invite to a brunch that would bring together some of the contributors to the new Edible Long Island magazine (launching first edition digitally in July, and then print editions starting in September). And everyone was to bring something.

A brunch full of food writers focused on local, hand-crafted food is a brunch full of people who know their way around a kitchen and know good stuff when they taste it. So this called for a dish that features seasonal ingredients, preferably locally-sourced, and perhaps expressing something about who I am and where I come from.

Portable and tasty, tortillas are a terrific potluck solution

Portable and tasty, tortillas are a terrific potluck solution

A Spanish-style tortilla was the only logical solution. This is not the corn or flour tortilla wrapped around beans that you get in a Mexican restaurant. A Spanish (from Spain) tortilla is a stovetop egg cake carrying delicious seasoned and sauteed vegetables and/or meats. Similar to a frittata, it makes for a nice tapas dish or a satisfyingly hearty yet light meal. It is also marvellously portable and a go-to for me at many potlucks. Regular readers have tried my version of the classic Tortilla española  (onions and potato); Tortilla Torcal (chorizo, ham, and peas); Campstove Zucchini Tortilla (self-explanatory); Tortilla with Peas and Potatoes.

This was Leandro's to the cookies...nestled eggs with bacon

This was Leandro’s favorite…next to the cookies…nestled eggs with bacon

This version, invented for the occasion, The eggs were from Garden of Eve, so that’s my local sourcing. The rest, sadly, was from the supermarket, as this week’s asparagus extravaganza used up my local supply from Sang Lee, but one does what one can.

Figs, onions and gorgonzola...yum!

Figs, onions and gorgonzola…yum!

Since great foodie minds think alike, our hostess, Cristina Cosentino, made nestled eggs, cozied up in a lovely crust and wrapped in thick-cut bacon (Leandro’s fave), while dear friend, fellow blogger, and Restoration Farm buddy T.W. Barritt (heretofore known as T. Dubbs – thank you Cristina!) did a beautiful egg and ricotta bake with asparagus.! Kerrian Flanagan Brosky (author of Delectable Italian Dishes) headed in a different direction, with delicious fig, caramelized onion and gorgonzola crostini, and editor Betsy Davidson supported local food, by bringing some fantastic bakery cookies (a decision wholeheartedly supported by my son, who ate entirely more than I really wanted, but he was being such a good boy….)

Let them eat cake!

Let them eat cake!

It was a terrific afternoon. Thanks so much to the Cosentino family for providing such a beautiful setting (and especially Edward keeping Leandro so busy playing!) Mille grazie….


Tortilla with spring vegetables

Tortilla with spring vegetables

Springtime Spanish Tortilla

½ Cup olive oil

1 small onion halved and sliced thin into crescents (about 1/2 Cup)

½ Cup sweet peas (frozen is fine; I don’t even thaw them before putting them in the pan)

½ Cup asparagus, sliced thin on the bias – a few crowns reserved

10 fresh eggs

½ Cup ham, cut into ¼”squares

1 Tbs scallion, chopped

¼ tsp salt (or two generous pinches)

Several gratings black pepper

2 Tbs grated Grana Padano or other high quality grating cheese

(Be ready with the equipment: 8” omelette pan (oven-proof if you don’t plan on flipping); colander; bowl to catch oil; spatula; flat plate larger than the pan for flipping)

Heat olive oil in an 8” pan until fragrant and loose. Add onion, stir to coat, then add peas and asparagus. Cook at medium until vegetables are very tender, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, crack eggs into a large bowl and beat lightly until yolk and whites are combined.

Drain the vegetables through a sieve or colander, reserving the oil in a bowl underneath. Add vegetables to eggs, stir to coat. Put reserved oil back in the pan, add ham and scallions and cook until scallions are tender. Once again, drain through a colander, reserving the oil. Stir ham and scallions into egg mixture, add salt and pepper and let rest for five minutes.

In the meantime, clean the pan, and heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved oil in it on high. Pour the egg mixture into the pan, cook on high for under a minute, then lower heat to medium low and cover. Cooking times will vary here, depending on the thickness of your tortilla. You can speed things up by pulling the tortilla away from the sides occasionally, and allowing egg mixture from the top to seep to the pan’s surface. Shake the pan occasionally to prevent sticking.

When the top is fairly dry, use a flat plate that is larger than the pan to flip the tortilla and then slide it back into the pan. Flipping this way a few times gives the tortilla a nice shape, and lets you choose which side you want on top when you serve. This is when you stick the reserved asparagus tops in for looks. The Spanish like to leave the center wet; I find Americans prefer their tortillas cooked through.

If you are afraid of flipping, you need to use an oven-safe pan. Let the tortilla cook through completely, then finish under the broiler for a minute.

In all, the tortilla should take 10-15 minutes to cook through.

Allow to cool at least ten minutes before slicing and serving. Tastes great at room temperature. To keep overnight or for a day or two, allow to cool, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

The Wild One

The Wild One


28 Responses to “Light Yet Hearty Springtime Spanish Tortilla”

  1. thewindykitchen May 25, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    What a feast! I’ve been meaning to make an asparagus spanish tortilla for a few weeks now, but the asparagus at big chain local grocery store has been looking kinda sad (that’s on top of the outrageous price they’re charging for it!). the nestled eggs look so good, you cannot go wrong with bacon 🙂

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy May 25, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

      I am working on my colleagues at Edible Long Island to do some guest posts with their recipes! Will keep you – ahem – posted..

  2. Eha May 21, 2013 at 7:50 am #

    Well, I am here courtesy of Celi making your tortilla right in the middle of the wild weather striking the Mid-West and then posting about it. Love the recipe: am more the grill [oops, broiler] and soft centre gal 🙂 ! So thanks and hi from Down Under!!

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy May 21, 2013 at 8:28 am #

      Ooooh! Let me know how it goes….I am happy to post pictures and connect to your blog post so that readers get to see all the wonderful variations…I do like finishing under the broiler as well sometimes when I am going to heat and eat frittata-style, but for portability, the tortilla works very well. Stay safe in that awful weather. Will be sending good thoughts your way!

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy May 21, 2013 at 8:44 am #

      Oh wait! You are Down Under…not actually IN the Midwestern U.S.? Heehee…..

      • Eha May 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

        Sure am and a cuckoo to boot 🙂 ! For practical reasons do not have my own blog but fly from one nest to the other of those who do hoping I do not make too much of a nuisance of myself 😀 !

      • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy May 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

        Oh that’s funny! Well I hope you’ll continue to flit around my blog!

  3. cecilia May 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

    I made it tonight and it was superb, this is one of those recipes that I can store in my brain and make again and again! The method is great. thank you again.. c

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy May 20, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

      Hurray!!!! I am soooo happy it worked out for you…please tell me your variation so I can post (did you take a picture?) The varieties are endless….

      • cecilia May 21, 2013 at 7:21 am #

        No i didn’t take a picture, but I left link to yours on my pages this morning. i made it with sausage, spinach and feta. I panfried the garlic then tossed the sausage and spinach in it very fast before putting it to drain. It is all about the flipping isn’t it, i was thrilled how big and round and fluffy it ended up.

      • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy May 21, 2013 at 7:32 am #

        Oh my goodness, that sounds delicious…spinach and feta is my favorite omelette, but I had never considered actually making it into a tortilla…thus inspired…I KNOW what I am doing this week…..

  4. cecilia May 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm #

    I love your egg tortilla, I have never had one before but soon will, maybe even tonight.. now I need to go back and read these instructions more carefully! c

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy May 19, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

      I bet you have the most fantastic eggs! ONe day I will be able to keep chooks

      • cecilia May 19, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

        Weed fed!! The best eggs.. and i am checking to see what i have about to make the tortilla for my dinner! The garden is mostly greens, could i do a spinach and feta one?.. I will wilt and strain the spinach first.

      • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy May 19, 2013 at 2:18 pm #

        I would absolutely do spinach and feta! Can you saute the feta with some garlic? Or onions?

      • cecilia May 19, 2013 at 2:31 pm #

        oh yes, garlic, what an excellent addition, and I shall saute the feta with it, i have never done that before! c

      • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy May 19, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

        Sauteing the feta I am not so sure about…I would crumble it into the egg mixture just before pouring it all into the pan…Let me know how you do it!

      • cecilia May 19, 2013 at 2:41 pm #

        Thats true, i must have read your comment too fast, ok i am off out into the garden then later on i shall make myself dinner! It is a nice feeling to know what i am going to eat tonight, i am often so last minute! Thank you!! enjoy your sunday.. c

      • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy May 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

        You too…buen provecho (bon appetit in Spanish)…let me know how it turns out!

      • cecilia May 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

        I will.. c

      • cecilia May 19, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

        ka kite ano (I will see you again soon in Maori!) c

  5. Mad Dog May 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Those nested eggs with bacon look good. Great biker picture – I have some friends in a band who keep a Harley in their lounge…
    That’s a serious gourmet tortilla – mine just have potato, onion and garlic 😉

    • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy May 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm #

      Hey, I was under pressure to perform…it’s all well and good to write about food, but can you deliver on those delicious promises? I think I can! 😉

      • Mad Dog May 19, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

        You definitely delivered – that’s a nice tortilla 🙂

      • Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy May 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

        Mind you, I use a LOT more eggs than is traditional. So you can call me on that one! A New World take on an Old World dish….

      • Mad Dog May 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

        I don’t think there’s an egg limit – yours looks just right. The largest I’ve ever made had 18 eggs, but I’ve seen some monsters in Spain which could have had as many as 50!

  6. Natalia at Hot, Cheap & Easy May 21, 2013 at 7:33 am #

    🙂 Thanks for the shout out! You have actually inspired me to try spinach and feta in a tortilla now!


  1. Birds get busy | thekitchensgarden - May 21, 2013

    […] greens out of the garden from TasteFood. Absolutely divine. Followed by a Spanish Tortilla from Hot Cheap and Easy. Both of these recipes use good fresh home grown food and can be made with whatever you have on […]

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