The Musette: vegan tortilla de patatas

I love potato tortillas though I’m really not supposed to eat them as they contain eggs, lots of them. So I’ve been looking into vegan alternatives and found this recipe in Richard Buckley’s excellent book Plants Taste Better. It’s one of my more recent acquisitions and I’ve been itching for some free time to try a number of his recipes.

Ahead of a family wedding, where both of us are a bit concerned about fitting into our designated wedding outfits, my beloved is partly embracing my vegan lifestyle and, in addition, has given up desserts and alcohol. From past experience, I know this is all he needs to do to drop those last stubborn kilos. So this tortilla looked ideal fare for a light lunch.

This recipe also gave me an opportunity to try out my new double tortilla pan picked up while on our most recent vacation. Is it as good as the real thing? Honestly? No, it’s nowhere near as unctuous however it is seriously tasty.

Ingredients (serves 4 hungry cyclists)

  • 100g (31/2oz) gram (chickpea) flour, sifted
  • 150ml (2/3cup) filtered water
  • 800g (1lb 12oz) waxy potatoes
  • 500-750ml (2-3 cups) olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely sliced
  • 5g (1tsp) sea salt
  • 1 tsp hot smoked pimenton (optional)

Method

1. Put the sieved gram flour into a sterile bowl and whisk in the filtered water to form a smooth batter. Cover with a clean cloth and leave the bowl somewhere warm (22°C/71°F) for 24-48 hours. The longer the fermentation period, the better the flavour.

2. Cut the unpeeled potatoes into rings or 1cm (1/2″) dice and place in a saucepan. Cover completely with olive oil and heat gently until it starts to boil. Stir gently, from time to time, to prevent the potatoes from sticking. Once the oil is bubbling, add the finely sliced onion and simmer gently until the potato is cooked, about 15 minutes. Once cooked, strain the contents of the saucepan through a sieve over a bowl to catch the oil.

3. While it’s still warm, add the potato and onion mixture to the batter with the salt and pimenton.

4. Put a couple of tablespoons of the previously heated oil into a 23cm (9″) frying pan (skillet) and heat gently. When hot, tip in the batter. Flatten it down with a wooden spoon, making sure there are no gaps. Fry gently until the bottom is firm and golden brown.

5. Ensure the tortilla is loose in the pan, then firmly hold a plate over the top, invert the tortilla onto the plate and then slide it back into the pan to cook the underside.

6. Once cooked, turn out onto a board and allow to cool to room temperature before cutting into slices and serving with crusty bread and a sharp tomato relish (see below).

Sheree’s Handy Hints

1.To cut down on the calorific content, I boiled my potatoes in their skins, peeled and then diced them before adding while warm to the batter along with some spring (salad) onions.

2. Instead of inverting the tortilla onto a plate I (successfully) used my double frying pan.

3. I made my sharp tomato relish with 4 large peeled and diced tomatoes to which I added a finely diced shallot, a tablespoon of olive oil, 1 tsp cider vinegar, a tsp sea salt and some coasely ground pepper. Mash slightly with a fork and allow the flavours to mingle before serving with the tortilla. This relish is all about the quality of the tomatoes.

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