When is a Tortilla NOT a Tortilla? from Marta’s Cuban American Kitchen

Every now and then I get a craving for something that appears unusual to my kids but was just part of a regularly scheduled menu item in my Cuban American household when I was growing up.

And I realize just a beat too late that they haven’t had the same upbringing that I have, and that sometimes my food references represent a huge cultural/generational/you’re-like-from-another-planet gap.

In this case, I made the mistake of saying it out loud, “I’m craving a really great tortilla.”

My kids kind of tilted their heads and made question mark faces at this declaration.

Because here in Southern Mexifornia California, a tortilla is either made from corn or flour. And while they’re good, (although I tend to think that the corn ones are definitely more of an acquired taste for the Cuban palate) I don’t routinely refer to those tortillas as really great. (Although, a hot, freshly-made flour tortilla with honey butter is, in this case, the exception that proves the rule, but that’s not important right now.)

Of course, my craving was for a Spanish Tortilla made with lots of olive oil and garlic and onions and eggs and anything else I could find in my kitchen that might give it a really great flavor.

It took them a while to get used to the idea that yes, we Cubans had our very own version of a “tortilla.” And except for the part where I bake mine in the oven because I kind of flunked Spanish Tortilla Flipping 101 (but that’s not important right now, either) my family agreed that yes, the final product was a really great “tortilla.”

Now, if I could just get them to stop making air-quotation-marks whenever they say the word, “tortilla.”  =D

Ay, Dios mio.

Oven Baked Spanish Tortilla

Olive oil
3-4 medium size Yukon Gold potatoes (they are the least starchy and best suited for this) – peeled, halved and sliced into thin slices
1 yellow onion – halved and sliced really thin
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Sea salt
Coarse ground black pepper
5 large eggs
4 green onions, both green and white parts, thinly sliced
1/2 bell pepper, finely diced
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Line a 9-inch cake pan with aluminum foil and brush with olive oil on bottom and sides.
3. Toss the potatoes, onion, garlic, green onions, bell pepper, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp of pepper together with olive oil (just enough to coat them) in a large bowl, until the potatoes are thoroughly coated with oil and the potato slices separate.

4. In a large, DEEP, 10-inch skillet, heat about 2 Tbsp of olive oil over high heat until hot.
5. Reduce heat to medium and add potato mixture to skillet. Set the bowl aside for the moment, but no need to wash, we’ll use it again.
6. Cover potato mixture and cook, stirring every few minutes until potatoes are tender. About 25 minutes.
7. While the potatoes are cooking, whisk the eggs and about 1/2 tsp of salt in the reserved bowl.
8. Fold the potato mixture into the egg mixture, scraping the skillet.
9. Mix grated Parmesan cheese into the potato/egg mixture.

10. Pour the potato/egg mixture into the prepared foil-lined pan.
11. Cook, uncovered for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and set.

12. Slide onto a plate and allow to cool for about 15 minutes before cutting.

13. Serve warm or at room temperature, sliced into wedges.

THAT, my friends, is a really great “tortilla.” 😉