Dave’s Really Stupendous, Ultra-Amazing, Basically Simple Spanish Tortilla de Potata by David Chappe

photo by   Jessica Chappe

This is not my recipe to claim - it is my dad's. He passed away in 2001 of cancer when I was eight years old. I think about him a lot. Even though I was very young when he died, I still have strong memories of him cooking, reading to me, lying on my floor at night until my sister and I fell asleep, speeding through town in his Ford Taurus with Van Morrison playing... I feel very lucky to have inherited his enthusiasm for food (and cooking and eating and smelling and feeding). My dad was also a screenwriter and reader - two more special traits I am happy and gracious to have received from his soul. After he died, my mom put together a cookbook of his recipes. From 1985-1986 he had a catering business that he called The Dostoyevski Catering Company  - menus from that business are organized in the cookbook. Other relics in the cookbook include Dave's Favomatic Linguine and Clam sauce, Grave Dave's Totally Amazing, Autumnal Tuscan Mushroom Soup, and Dave's Phenomenal Spectacular Unbelievable Salad Dressing. I made this tortilla recipe for some friends in August and it couldn't have been more "stupendous." Lots of love to my Scorpio daddy. 

In his words:

The first thing you should have on hand is a primo, really good and reliable, NON-STICK frying pan. If you don’t have one, don’t even try this recipe. Honest injun’, it wont work.

But if you do have one, get ready for some seriously good food.

1 good size yellow onion

1 big Idaho potato

five eggs

Kosher salt (this is important)

Cooking oil

Slice the onion and the potato. If you have a Cuisinart, this is the time to get out the old slicing blade. The object is to make the potato and onion slices thin, because they’re going to be cooked together, and they have to be done cooking at the same time.

When you have them sliced, toss them together in a bowl and sprinkle with Kosher salt.

Meanwhile, have your cooking oil heating up on the stove. When its hot enough, drop in your onion and potato. Please make sure you have enough oil to cover everything. Even cooking is important. Stir a lot during cooking.

When the onions and potato mixture is cooked, drain the oil and set the onions and potatoes aside,

Scramble the eggs, and sprinkle with Kosher salt, and a very little pepper to taste. When the onions and potatoes are very well drained, dump them into the eggs and gently mix them together. Let the egg/onion/potato mixture sit for five minutes.

Drizzle a very small amount of olive oil into your non-stick pan frying pan. When the pan is hot, pour in your egg-mixture. Using a gentle, circular motion, rock the frying pan back and forth, to insure even cooking, and prevent the thing from sticking to the pan.

Using your spatula, bring the edges of the tortilla away from the frying pan sides, both as a check for brownness, and to prepare for the flip.

When the bottom side of your tortilla is sufficiently browned, it’s time to flip it. Place a large plate over the frying pan, and turn the pan upside down onto the plate.

The tortilla should pop right out, onto the plate. Now, slide the tortilla back into the frying pan, uncooked side down, and using your spatula, tuck in the sides all around.

Go back to your gentle, circular, rocking of the frying pan. When the bottom side of the tortilla is browned as the top, flip it out onto the plate, using the same plate-over-the-top method.

Voila. Couldn’t be more simple. Let it cool for a spell and serve in slices, or cut up in cubes with tooth-picks, like they do in Spain.

 A word about oil. In Spain, they cook onion and potato in olive oil. This gives a heavy taste. I prefer some less dense vegetable oil, But you might experiment with mixing the oils.

Happy eating.