I'm a little slow today. I just switched to Sanka. So...have a heart?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sopa de Ajo and Tortilla

In 2001, I studied abroad in Sevilla. I lived with una anciana (an old lady) named Maria Jesus Escobar Gil. This will probably be the only entry about her on the internet, so I'm going to make it a good one.

Maria Jesus, or Senora as I called her, and I formed a really close relationship that semester. I really need to write to her, but on the off chance she's not alive anymore, it would break my heart, so I haven't. But her birthday is coming up, so I really should send a card, just in case.

Anyhoo -- while I was there, I was fascinated watching her make comida Andaluz - stuff you think of when you think of Spain. I wrote some recipes down while watching her make them... in that way, even if she's not around anymore, her recipes will be... here are two, which I'm going to give you as written (which is basically as she went along cooking) recipes are as written, with recent commentary in bold:

1) Sopa de Ajo (Garlic Soup) (This looks like it's a recipe for 1-2 servings)

Heat 1/3 cup olive oil in a wok, and add 5 cloves diced garlic into the oil to fry for 15 seconds. Add 1 large hard roll (1-2 days old) (in Spain, we would get large...hard rolls about the size of two of my fists together) in slices and fry until the garlic is brown. Add (2C is crossed out and it looks like I added 1 L....unintellgible) agua) 1L of water and 2 chicken bullion cubes. Add sprig of mint. Boil. Don't stir a lot. (I remember the bread soaks up the bullion water and gets soggy and unappealing looking...) Add whole egg, boil, voila!

Unfortunately, the recipes as I took them down require knowledge of what things should look like... so... try by all means, and realize that no Spanish cooking is particularly pretty, at any time during the process. Including plating...

2) Tortilla Espanola

Peel 1 lb of potatoes, cut into strings. 1 med-lg onion, 1 cup 3/4 de oil. This means put 1 and 3/4 cups olive oil in a wok, and I guess, heat it. Salt potatoes fry potatoes till soft, not brown, add diced onion, fry. Then, after 5 mins, lower flame to low over fuego lento, y dejala hasta que esta tierna. When todo esta tierna, quite del aciete, y drain. After 5 minutes, lower flame to low, over a slow fire, and leave the potatoes and onions until they're soft. When everything is soft, take them out of the oil, and drain them. Crack and beat 2 eggs, cover 6" pan with oil and heat till just smoking. Add hot potatoes to eggs (not all) and smoosh around. Dump into pan and even out. Raise flame to medium-high. Move tortilla, always moving, edges will set. Turn down flame. Also smoosh edge down wil should bubble at sides. When slightly set, use pan lid, flip tortilla, and slide back into pan. Top must not have sides. I have no idea what (not all) means in the directions - maybe you don't add all the potatoes and onions to the eggs, just most of it? The pan should have a thick layer of oil in it, and after the egg and potato mixture is in and spread, shake the pan constantly for the first couple minutes so the tortilla doesn't stick. She would also keep tucking the edges down, into the hot oil, as they would tend to creep up. With respect to flipping she would use a spatula to ease the tortilla, set side down, out of the pan, and onto a flat pan-lid. I think you could use a plate, put another plate on top of it, flip the tortilla, and put the unset side down into the oil to finish off.