Cheap, Sustainable, Delicious: Spanish Tortilla

Need a quick way to make a bunch of potatoes into a wonderful meal? Cook them up in some eggs.

If you have spuds and some eggs, you have dinner. (Photo: Ian Knauer)

Ian Knauer is a regular contributor to TakePart. He worked for ‘Gourmet’ and is the author of the IACP Award–nominated cookbook ‘The Farm.’

Earlier this week, I went on a morning television show and made the hosts a recipe from my cookbook called Potato Nachos. It was a fun three-minute interview, and the hosts seemed to really like the dish, which is made of potatoes that are deep fried then topped with nacho fixin’s.

The thing about television is that you (the guest) are required to make four times the recipe in case something happens, and you need to tape the segment instead of produce it live. So I shopped and prepped and had on hand four times the ingredients I needed for the dish. That’s a lot of potatoes.

Television, in fact all media, can be terrifically wasteful when it comes to food styling. After the photo or video shoots are over, most of the crew is so sick and tired of the recipe that food often (usually) gets thrown out. It’s very common, and I admit that in lusher times, I have been guilty of tossing food-styling ingredients in the garbage. But these days, times are not lush.

I used to be under the impression, before I went on television with some frequency, that everyone on camera was rich. I can assure you now that this is not even remotely the case. Monday’s appearance cost me hundreds of dollars and paid me zero. So this week, I ate lots of leftover potatoes salvaged from the food-prep station at Fox New York.

The good news is, I like potatoes, and I am not fearful of carbs, but potatoes on their own aren’t so delicious. Eggs, however, are a cheap way to fix that problem. Enter the tortilla.

The Spanish tortilla is an incredibly simple, cheap, and delicious way to cook several days’ worth of food and use up a lot of potatoes. This omelette/frittata can be flavored with just about anything you have laying around in the fridge. Got some steamed asparagus? Throw it in. A red bell pepper? Boom. Shrimp? You guessed it.

I made my version with a roasted red bell pepper and some proscuitto that was on its last legs, and I felt pretty good about the idea of not letting any food go to waste.

Spanish Tortilla

Serve: 8

2 pounds waxy potatoes, peeled

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced

2 teaspoons salt

10 large eggs

1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

12 ounces roasted red peppers, sliced

4 ounces proscuitto, thinly sliced

Arugula salad

Slice the potatoes 1/4-inch thick. Heat the oil in a 10-inch cast iron or non-stick skillet over medium heat until hot. Stir in the potatoes, onion, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned and potatoes are cooked through, about 12 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and let cool to warm.

Wish the eggs together with the remaining 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, then whisk in peppers and proscuitto. When potato mixture is no longer hot, stir potatoes into egg mixture. Do not wipe out skillet.

Heat the skillet over medium heat until hot, then add tortilla mixture, smoothing top. Cover skillet and cook over medium low heat until edges are set but center is still liquid, about 16 minutes. Place a large plate (at least 1-inch larger than the top of the skillet) and carefully invert the tortilla onto the plate. Place the skillet back on the heat and slide the tortilla into the skillet. Cover skillet and cook until tortilla is cooked through, about 6 minutes more. Transfer the tortilla to a cutting board and serve hot or at room temperature with arugula salad.

Similar stories on TakePart:

• The U.N. Wants You to Clean Your Plate (Yes, You, America)

• Americans Throw Away Almost Half of All Food, Waste $165 Billion

• Cheap, Sustainable, Delicious: Fresh Pea Salad With Homemade Ricotta

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