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Tortilla

Francis Mallmann

Lesson time 17 min

Argentina is heavily influenced by Spanish cuisine. It’s common to find the tortilla, a potato, onion, and egg Spanish omelette, at most every bodegón (Argentine cantina). Even though Francis has made many tortillas in his life, he says he only understood the true technique of the tortilla a few years ago when he observed a Spanish lady making it. Now, he shares this favorite tortilla recipe with you. While it’s possible to use any onions available, Francis’s secret is combining three types of onions. He also shares his tips on how to flip it and cook it to perfection.

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Preview

– Some years ago, I was in France, cooking in a Chateau, the wedding of some friends of mine with fires. And, you know, we had dinner. We were all living in this beautiful Chateau. And in the morning, a madam, the owner of the house, starting talking to this Spanish lady saying, “Ah, will you kindly make a tortilla for lunch?” And she said, “Oh no, no, I don’t want to do a tortilla.” And this went on and on. And finally, before lunch, she said, “Okay, I’ll do a tortilla.” So I watched her with a lot of attention, and that’s what I’m gonna do today because I’ve done many tortillas in my life but I understood the true technique of a Spanish tortilla with this Spanish lady. Well, there’s one technique, that she doesn’t cook the onions on their own and the potatoes on their own. So she cooks both of them together. You see what will happen with this tortilla, I really like it. So we clean the potatoes. We peel them with a Couteau de fis. This is the small knife of cooking. There was a time when you would go to Le Cordon Bleu you would learn to cook only with this tiny knife. You were not allowed any other knife. The French thought that the craft of cooking doesn’t need more than this. And they’re quite right. You know, you can do a lot of things with this knife, the Couteau de fis. It’s beautiful. – Lots of peels. If you go into the extensions of my cooking classes and yes, chef you will see that I did once, with all the leftover peels a delicious plancha with garlic, rosemary, thyme. So you must do that every time you cook like this and you have these leftover sort of bit of potatoes with the peels that I really like then you can look for that recipe and practice it. So the potatoes I’m gonna cut them in pieces like this. – It’s important to cut them in this exact size. If you cut them bigger, they won’t cook. They will be raw. If you cook them a smaller, they will be overcooked. And when you eat a tortilla, the potato has to be cooked but elegantly cooked, meaning that it has to have a bit of sustain in your mouth. Not raw. You have to practice, do it wrong. Do it again. And then with the run of time you possess the silent language of cooking which has been constructed by your senses. You know, I look, I smell I hear, I taste and all those things plus touch makes only tools you need for cooking. So I’m gonna put to this tortilla, half of each of these onions – I’m gonna use three different ones. I think that the red one is sweeter. You know, you break them up a bit like this, the white one it’s very sharp in taste. It’s very sharp. It’s very, it’s a bit more like spicy. And the, then the blonde one the other one is more tender in taste. – You know, I think it will make a nice mix of tasters inside the tortilla. – Okay. So that’s ready. I’m gonna start the fire. So the next step is I’m gonna get them inside a bowl with the potatoes here. I like a bit of Frantoio olive oil. It’s a type of olive. Yeah, little bit of salt, sea salt, a bit of pepper. And then here, I’m gonna toss them. – And then I go to the pan take the fire a bit lower and we’re gonna cook them and toss them every three or four minutes. You don’t want the potatoes to get color or the onions. You just have to cook them very slowly. – Gracias. Beautiful. So I toss them all the time because I don’t want them to get color again, very important. They have to cook that colorless, because you don’t want to overcook them too. You know? So don’t be tempted to cover them as you cook them because we don’t want to steam them. Eh, we want to cook them very slowly together. So they become friends. Ah, I’m so hungry. Now talking about it, once that is cooked this goes into the eggs. And what people normally do is just when it’s cooked they throw the eggs inside and then you have layers of egg and layers of the onions and the potatoes as if you mix it. No, you have a consistency in all the tortilla and you have a consistency if you made it meaning wetness. So I’m gonna have a glass of wine. – Well, not being the best time of the year for tomatoes. I still can’t stop making some. So I’m gonna sort of smash them. This one, I like it’s very ripe. All that the summer didn’t give them yet. So to enhance its taste, olive oil, this is vinegar. The best vinegar we have in Argentina. I really like it. It’s red wine vinegar and vinegar it’s very important that it’s good. As you can see, I’m quite generous with it because in my case, as I like to eat the tortilla I like to get the vinegar to invade the tortilla as I eat it. So now I’m gonna season it, little bit of sea salt some nice pepper, onions, and potatoes with the oil. As they toss them and toss them they cook and they give each other the sort of the reason why they live, both, well, you know everything in life has a meaning to live. You know, the onion enhances our food in a different way than a potato. A potato is more angelical and the onion is more pungent like angels and demons. And we need those contrasts. We need those opposites when we cook and we eat There’s still a bit of resistance but I can see that they’re cooked. You know, there’s a little bit more of cooking that will be finished with your eggs. So let me look, I’m gonna make eight eggs. – There’s no ratio. Really, it’s a heart thing. You want the eggs to give wetness to the tortilla. – A little bit of salt. – This goes back to the fire. And now we go back to the pan. – We cook it in low heat again, and I’ll flip it. You can use sunflower oil too. If you don’t like the olive oil. I like the olive oil, but this lady she didn’t like the olive oil in her tortilla. She did it with sunflower. – Turn it over, cook it for a couple more minutes. Okay. I’m sort of checking on it. See how it is, detaching the edges so it can flip it. You get that big arch. Now for the last end I’m gonna give it a present of butter to the pan. Really happy. – Just a couple of minutes. Not too much. We want it runny. I want it runny. I don’t want it overcooked. So we stay with that beautiful top on it. Okay. So this is ready to be flipped again. – And then I make little holes on it. So the vinegar and the olive oil will go in. That’s what I like, doesn’t mean that everybody has to like it, but that’s what I like.

About the Instructor

Francis Mallmann, the pioneer of open-fire cooking, is South America’s most famous chef and is known for his rustic open-fire cooking style in wild and remote locations. Join the James Beard award-winning author and Chef’s Table star as he brings you on a journey into his kitchen in the Patagonian wild where he teaches you how to master the grill and his Argentine-style barbecue.

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