Tortilla with Morcilla and Piquillo Peppers
I ate this recently in Bilbao, at a bar in the mediaeval old town, or the Seven Streets, as it's known. You can't help but get lost there, and it's hopeless to try to retrace your steps - though you always stumble across somewhere new. This is a classic Basque way to eat tortilla and something people often make at home; we love to add extra flavours to our tortillas, and the earthiness of the morcilla (Spanish blood sausage) with sweet piquillo peppers is amazing.
|4 tbsp||extra virgin olive oil, plus enough to cook the potatoes|
|Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper|
|4||medium potatoes, peeled, halved lengthways, then cut into 3cm slices (a mandolin is useful here)|
|200g||piquillo peppers, julienned|
|200g||rice morcilla, skin removed, meat crumbled|
Put two tablespoons of oil into a pan on a low heat, then add the onions with a pinch of salt. Caramelize the onions very slowly until they are dark golden brown. Exactly how long this will take will depend on your pan, but you can't rush it - about 30 minutes.
Put at least 3cm of oil into another large, non-stick pan on a low-medium heat. Season the sliced potatoes on the chopping board and add to the pan; don't overcrowd it, cook them in two batches if you need to. Cook until they start to get slightly soft and golden - you don't want 'fried' potatoes. Remove to a bowl or plate using a spider or a slotted spoon, and cook the second batch, if necessary.
It's important to make the tortilla mix while the onions and potatoes are still warm, as this will give your tortilla better flavour (make sure it's not hot, though: you don't want scrambled eggs!). First, mix the cooked onions and potatoes together, then whisk the eggs and add to the potato/onion mix. Add the chopped piquillo peppers and the crumbled morcilla and mix again. Leave to sit for at least 10-15 minutes. The potatoes will start to absorb the egg, and their juices will mix together.
Put two tablespoons of olive oil into a medium-sized pan that's 4cm deep, and put on a medium heat. When it starts to get warm, pour in the tortilla mix, and reduce the heat to low. You will see the edge of the tortilla start to set: this is when it's ready to turn.
Try to get a plate just slightly bigger than your pan - or use your pan lid if it has no rim. It's best to turn the tortilla off the heat: hold the pan close to you, place the plate on top, then confidently, in one smooth move, turn it over. Bring the plate close to the pan and carefully slide the tortilla back in, using a wooden spoon to nudge it into place if you need to. It's not easy - but you'll get better with practice. By your eighth time you should be feeling confident!
Turn the heat back on and leave the tortilla to cook for another couple of minutes, then turn again, using the same method but cleaning your plate or lid first. I normally turn a tortilla three times, so it develops as minimal a crust as possible. You can check how cooked your tortilla is by poking it with a toothpick. Some people like it well done but I like it nice and juicy. You can also press it with your finger: if it rises up at the sides, it is still too eggy. When it is done, turn it out a final time and leave to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
Serve sliced, with a crsipy salad (such as Little Gem) on the side. Refrigerate any leftover tortilla and take it out of the fridge for an hour or so before eating.