Ah, another classic tapa and the saviour of that rare breed – the vegetarian – in Spain. More veggie friendly establishments and juice bars are sprouting up in the cities, but typically all that was on the meat and fish free menu were patatas bravas, tortilla de patatas, slivers of manchego and quince jelly, and a smattering of olives. Even seemingly innocuous lentejas are simmered away with chorizo, morcilla and pork belly. In Santander, I had to laugh when my veggie friend, who is extremely proud of his scoffing capacity, ordered the fattest hunk of tortilla he spotted, but when it came to the table we soon realised that its loftiness was in fact due to a layer of tuna mayonnaise spread over the tortilla and then covered with a crepe-like omelette. More for me!
I’ve been shown how to make tortilla de patatas by many a Spaniard. You fry slices of potato in a generous amount of oil, and then add to the beaten eggs mashing the potato up slightly. Then it all goes in the pan until it is time for the flipping. The traditional method of turning it out only a plate and sliding it back into the pan gives the best flavour but highest disintegration risk, but what were grills invented for? So in the spirit of illegitimate cookery, here is a recipe for mini tortillas de patatas baked in muffin tins.
RECIPE: MINI TORTILLAS DE PATATAS
A large potato, finely diced
Half of a white onion, finely diced
2 large or 3 medium sized eggs, beaten
A sprinkling of salt and two grinds of pepper
A generous glug of olive oil
INSTRUCTIONS: Fry the potatoes and onion in the oil over a low heat for ten minutes or until softened and just starting to brown. Season the eggs well, and add the potatoes and onions to the mix. I tend to add a pinch more salt than normal to eggy fillings, like quiches and frittatas. Mash roughly with a fork so the potatoes are still in individual chunks, but their edges are slightly smashed. Spoon the mixture into greased small muffin (or fairy cake) tins and bake at 180°C for five to ten minutes, until they begins to brown and puff up. My mum has really tiny canapé tins which could also work if the potatoes were really finely diced and the cooking time cut. Serve with a simple salad of peppery greens dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and enjoy…