Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Tortilla Española with Smoked Bacon – and TLC!

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The secret ingredient? TLC!

You know by now that I love magical dishes born out of the simplest of ingredients. One that I return to time and again is the Tortilla Española – the Spanish Omelette. The basic version has just 3 main ingredients – potato, onion, eggs. But there’s a 4th magic ingredient that must go into the mix – TLC – or Tender Loving Care.
The Three Amigos... on their own, they're nothing!

Each element must be selected with TLC - there is nowhere for inferior ingredients to hide in this classic dish. If you know the hens personally, so much the better! The tortilla must be prepared with patience - a hall-mark of TLC - and it must be served with reverence. TLC will make all the difference between a ‘so what’ snack and a meal fit for the Gods.

In this version, I’ve added smoked bacon. For the veggie option, obviously leave out the bacon... although in Spain, bacon/ham isn’t considered to be meat ... so you might still be served the bacon version as 'vegetarian'...

 Serves 2 hungry people
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
100g of smoked bacon, diced
1 onion, chopped
500g potato, diced into 1cm cubes
approximately 25 strands saffron soaked in 1 tablespoon boiling water
5 large eggs
½ teaspoon fine table salt
¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Tortilla - Spanish for "Just what I wanted!"
1                 Heat the olive oil in an 18cm (7 inch) frying pan over a medium heat. Add the bacon and cook until opaque then remove from the pan.
2                 Turn up the heat then add the onion and potato and stir until well-coated in oil. Immediately lower the heat to the minimum setting.  You want the potatoes and onions to cook without colouring. Cover the frying pan with a lid. After about 10 minutes carefully turn the contents of the pan so that the potatoes and onions cook evenly. Replace the lid and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, poke a cube of potato with a fork make sure it is cooked right through. If not, continue cooking for a few more minutes and test again.
3                 While the potatoes are cooking, break the eggs into a large bowl and beat with a fork until the yolks are just incorporated with the whites. Strain the saffron liquid into the eggs, discarding the strands. Add the salt and black pepper.
4                 Once the potatoes and onions are cooked, add them to the bowl of beaten egg and mix until every piece of potato is well-coated. Then pour the mixture back into the frying pan and cook gently without a lid for about 20 – 25 minutes.
5                 When there is no longer any liquid egg on the surface, slide a spatula around the edges of the omelette to make sure it isn’t sticking. Then cover the pan with an inverted plate and carefully up-end the pan. Gently slide the tortilla back into the pan to finish cooking the other side for a further 2 – 3 minutes.
6                 This is good hot or cold, at any time of the day or night. Cut into thick wedges for a substantial snack and serve with a green salad. You could also cut it into cubes and impale with cocktail sticks for an excellent finger food.

Variation: Non-traditional... I love to add some smoked salmon in place of the bacon. No need to cook the salmon in advance. Simply add it to the egg mixture at the same time as you mix in the potatos and onions. Tortilla Española is also really good with this ‘Fierce’ Tomato Sauce.
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  1. I like the TLC part =)
    We could all use a bit (a lot is even better) of it.
    Wishing you lots of TLC!!

  2. I agree that TLC makes a big difference. This tortilla looks lovely. I really like the use of saffron.

  3. Looks gorgeous! :) I love the shiny onion pieces peeking through, too :)

  4. TLC is a favorite ingredient of mine! Not many things are near as delicious without it.
    This look like a perfect example of your motto of simple ingredients yielding magical food. The smoked bacon as well as the saffron in this really is what hooked me on this as well as your picture. Delicious!

  5. Nothing to beat your TLC, Hester. True, makes us think that when you've got fab ingredients like that, there's no need to keep adding and adding - although I am also rather partial to the smoked salmon version. Here's to TLC!

  6. I am right with you on the best dishes being minimalist--I made a five-ingredient omelet for dinner myself last night. Looks delicious!

  7. TLC makes everything better. What a lovely dish.

  8. I'm sure the saffron and of course the bacon make this dish very flavorful. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    ~ ray ~

  9. Hester,
    This sounds so good. I have to make a vegetarian lunch for a lunch guest next week and think I might give this a try. I love the smoked salmon option too. And I know plenty of vegetarians that eat bacon so can understand the way the Spanish feel about it :0)

  10. Perfect, simply perfect. Every recipe needs that special ingredient - TLC.

  11. I am hungry and I will make this with smoked tofurkey sausage!!! Yum! Thanks for the simply chic recipe!

  12. Oh, I think I could eat this every day! So wonderful! Have a great weekend~

  13. I was wondering what TLC means (besides group singer - a while back haha). This looks beautiful and delicious at the same time. Have a wonderful weekend Hester!

  14. I love Spanish Omelette, and yours is an interesting technique.. I normally pour the egg mix straight over the hot cooked bits. More TLC your way! :)

  15. We love spanish omelet and the smoked bacon surely takes it up a notch. Buzzed!

  16. what a delicious sounding (and looking!) recipe! Im going to grab a coffee and read more, so glad i found your blog :) Belle

  17. Why on EARTH would I want to leave out the bacon!? Are you nuts!? Bacon is the main ingredient of TLC...in fact, it's really TLBC (Tender Loving Bacony Care)


  18. I LOVE tortilla! What a glorious lunch/brunch dish! And I really like the idea of adding saffron to it... great for a bit more colour and taste! :-)

  19. This is just gorgeous...the TLC is obvious :) I had no idea that bacon/ham was not considered meat in Spain...interesting :)


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