Recipe: Ham and Cheese Tortilla
Paella is to Spain what poutine is to Canada – a regional dish that has evolved to be famous across the country. But a dish that is certainly more consumed by Spaniards across their country, and perhaps a better representation of a national dish, would be the humble tortilla. A classic Spanish tortilla (spanish omlette) is made using four ingredients: eggs, potatoes, salt, and olive oil, and is can be consumed at all times of they day.
The first time I watched my boyfriend, who hails from the north of Spain, make a tortilla I was in shock by the amount of oil used to create this vegetarian and gluten-free appetizer. The oil is strained and saved for the next tortilla, or other frying needs in the home. Spain apparently has one of the highest life expectancy
rates in the world, so if they can get by on a slice of tortilla a day, I can get over the amount of oil and just enjoy this simple dish. Everyone in Spain would have an opinion on tortilla, who makes the best, but i have learned that my preference is when the inside is not entirely cooked through, and is slightly runny inside.
While the class is tasty, I often prefer tortilla rellena, or stuffed tortilla. As diverse as pizza toppings, I have seen tortillas stuffed with everything from tuna to mushrooms to shrimp. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with a classic ham and cheese, but this could easily be swapped out with bacon and be equally delicious. I know it would be sacraligious to mess with a classic, but this tortilla is an Alberta version. I use Alberta potatoes, Alberta eggs, Alberta pork (I used Meuwly’s honey ham), and I keep it local and sub out the olive oil for 100 per cent made in Canada Canola oil.
What you’ll need…
- 5 medium or 3 large sized potatoes, peeled, quartered, and sliced into 3 – 5 mm slices
- 6 large eggs
- salt, to taste
- 1.5 cups of canola oil.
- six large pieces of sliced ham
- 3-5 slices of a soft, melting cheese, such as Gouda, mozzarella, or brie
- Pour oil into a deep frying pan and bring to a medium high heat while you slice the onion.
- First, add the onions and allow to cook while you peel and cut the potatoes.
- Add the potatoes, and stir occasionally for approximately 15 minutes while the potatoes cook through and onions have caramelized. To test, poke a piece of potato with a fork – it should break through, but not be mushy. Strain the potato/onion mixture, reserving the oil for future use.
- In a large bowl, add six eggs and gently mix until combined. Add the potato and onion mixture to the eggs and gently mix together. Season with salt. Allow the mixture to rest for five to 15 minutes.
- Add 1 tbsp of oil back to the pan and bring to medium – high heat. Add half of the mixture to the pan and quickly add a layer of ham, then cheese, then ham again – leaving about 2 cm from the edge of the potato). Add the remaining potato/egg mixture and ensure the potato is covering all the ham and cheese.
- Allow to cook for three minutes; the edges should easily separate from the pan.
- Now comes the challenging part. Cover with a plate or lid larger than the pan, and flip the tortilla on to the plate. Slide the tortilla back into the pan and allow the raw side cooks for an additional two – three minutes.
- Remove from the pan on to a plate. The mixture will continue to cook, so allow the tortilla to rest for at least five minutes, or if you can contain yourself, allow to sit overnight before eating. (Just like a good stew, tortilla often tastes better the next day).