Monday, July 25, 2005

What's for dinner?

I'm not crazy about leftovers. Well, I should qualify that. I'm not crazy about eating the same meal, in unaltered form, twice in a row--even if it's really good. Even if it "improves with age." I like making something, like a roast chicken, that can wear many hats. Roast chicken dinner one night followed by chicken salad sandwiches or pulled roast chicken with barbecue sauce on a soft roll. One bird, many meals.

I also really like looking in the fridge or pantry, realizing that there is nothing to eat, and then making a dinner out of nothing. This is precisely what I did last night, and I think it could be the premise for the next Iron Chef. Don't give the chefs a pantry stocked with uni and creme fraiche--give them a fridge with six eggs, cheese ends, condiments and a few potatoes. That would really seperate the men from the boys.

So, what did I make? Tortilla Espanola. I was served my first slice of this egg and potato frittata-like snack by a Puerto Rican friend, accompanied by garlicky aioli. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

Here's the method: For a tortilla that serves one or two people.

Heat 3/4 of a cup of oil in an 8 inch skillet. It doesn't have to be non-stick, but if you have one, go ahead, use it. When the oil is hot, add about a cup of diced potatoes, maybe a small zucchini if you've got one, and let cook over medium-low heat until the potatoes are soft but not brown (if they are beginning to brown before cooking through, lower the heat) While they are doing their thing, whisk up 5 eggs with salt and pepper. When the potatoes, etc. are cooked, drain them (save the oil, you can reuse it) and add them, while still hot, to the beaten eggs. Stir to combine, add a couple teaspoons of the oil back to the skillet then dump the whole mixture in. Cook over low heat until the tortilla is mostly set, then pop the skillet under the broiler and broil until it's set on top. Turn out onto a plate and let cool to room temperature. Eat with aioli, if you like, or a big green salad.

Something from nothing. I'll be darned. Delicious!

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