Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Spanish Tortilla with Poblano-Tomato Sauce - Volver #FoodnFlix

Once again, I am participating in the monthly Food n' Flix Cooking Club. I am really enjoying the opportunity to discover movies that are new to me, and rediscovering old favorites experienced through the lens of food.

June's movie, hosted by CulturEatz, was a 2006 Spanish film called Volver, which means 'return'.  This is another one that is subtitled in English - a situation I generally avoid - but  the dialogue and plot was engaging enough that I soon stopped noticing it.

This is very much a woman's movie - but I don't mean a 'chick flick'.  Several generations of women from a small town known for its strong winds and high rate of insanity are both kept in close relationship with one another and held apart by the withholding and sharing of secrets.  And some of those secrets are very, very dark - but the movie itself, with the exception of a painful scene or two, is buoyant and full of laughter and love.  The title stems from both the physical departures some of them have made from their village (and what draws them back), as well as a return to former closeness with one another after they've grown estranged for one reason or another.

These women have strong passions, but also very pragmatic responses to their difficulties (almost entirely brought on them by men), and in the end it is kindness and compassion to one another that matter most - often delivered with a sharp tongue, a hug and a bite of food.

I don't actually want to give away any of the plot at all because it is too hard to pick out even a part of it without giving away spoilers that are too fun to experience as they happen in the film.  I will say that it felt a bit (and only very loosely) like the magical realism found in Practical Magic, so much so that I felt dumb when I figured out what was really happening regarding one pivotal plot point.  For those that did see it - let's just say I was making the same assumptions as the villagers.

Mystified?? Good!  Rent this movie on Netflix, and settle in with some good Spanish tapas, and enjoy!

My notes on the food seen while watching included:
- some crispy rolled up hollow pastries translated by Netflix as 'wafers' (which was also how some donut shaped things were labeled - so I am  thinking 'wafer' is a translation of some general word for baked good),
- tomato and bell pepper salsa,
- 'a stick of bread' (what one elderly character lives on daily),
- a restaurant sign advertising tortilla y morcilla (omelet and blood sausage) and carne de cerdo ensalada (pork salad),
- comments about Madrid being full of Chinese and one character being called 'the Russian' which made me briefly contemplate going for a wholly different cuisine,
- a cloudy white cocktail I think may be a mojito (but not like I'm used to seeing here),
- chiles and onions being chopped,
- tapas (lots of goodies stacked on a pick),
- some sort of molded dessert (possibly caramel topped flan or rice pudding),
- a bowl of fruit (apples and peaches?)
- and a simple meal involving a cutlet of some sort, salad and some bread in a round pan, sort of like cornbread.

Whew!  None of this was really front and center to identify exactly what it was, so I decided to go for a Spanish Tortilla, so I'd at least have some idea of how it should taste.

Now, I am much, much more familiar with Mexican cooking than Spanish, and they aren't really as much alike as one might think, even when the words and ingredients are similar.  Spanish food tends to not favor so much heat, for starters.

In this case, 'tortilla' does not mean the corn or flour flatbreads we eat here in the Americas.  It means 'omelette' - but not like we think of an omelette, either!  It is fried potatoes and sometimes meat and other vegetables, encased in an egg base (like a frittata... only not. Confused yet?)

The one I made does have a couple of Mexican touches.  A bit of New World flavor 'returning' to Spain!  Instead of using blood sausage or hard-cured Spanish chorizo, I used Mexican chorizo, which is fresh sausage that is cooked loosely like ground meat and has a good bit of kick to it.

I also used poblano chiles rather than bell peppers to make the tomato sauce that topped it, because for some odd reason, I can eat chiles but not bells.

Also - I used 8 eggs and that wasn't enough. Take it up to 10 or even 12 to make sure there is plenty of delicious egg omelet in with the potatoes.

So here's what I did - and my husband asked that this go on our  regular meal rotation, so I'll call this a success.

Spanish Tortilla with Poblano-Tomato Sauce
Serves 4 (or 8 as tapas)

Poblano-Tomato Sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 large Poblano pepper, cored, seeded and diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 large can diced fire roasted tomatoes
4 Tblsp. butter

1 lb Mexican chorizo
6 Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
10 eggs
2 Tblsp olive oil
2 Tblsp butter

In a large saucepan, melt 4 Tblsp. butter, and cook chopped onion and pepper until softened and onion begins to brown.  Add minced garlic, and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute, until fragrant.  Add can of tomatoes, stir and bring to boil.  Lower heat and let simmer gently while the tortilla is prepared, stirring occasionally.

Mexican chorizo comes either loose, or in thin casings that should be slit, and the meat inside removed.  Break up sausage in large, oven-safe frying pan, and cook on medium heat until fully cooked.

While chorizo is browning, beat the eggs together in a large bowl and set aside.  Thin slice the potatoes and onion and set aside

When chorizo is cooked, turn into the bowl with the eggs.

Add olive oil to the same large pan, and heat to medium high.  Add sliced onion and potatoes, and cook until slightly browned.  Lower heat, add lid, and let steam cook for about 15 minutes, or until tender.

Turn the potato mixture into the bowl of eggs, folding gently to combine.

Add 2 T. butter to the pan, and heat to medium high.  Add the egg and potato mixture to the pan, patting gently with a spatula to shape and flatten it.

Heat oven to 400F.

Cook about 6 minutes, or until set on bottom. Gently run a spatula under the tortilla to make sure it isn't sticking.

Now - if you've got strength and dexterity, you can flip the tortilla onto a plate by putting a plate upside down on the pan and then turning the whole thing upside down, and then, once the tortilla is on the plate sliding it back into the pan to cook the other side.

So.... while you're contemplating just how many burns you'll get before the whole thing crashes onto the floor and the pan breaks your foot - just put your oven-safe frying pan into the oven, and let it cook another 6 minutes or so, no flipping needed.

Now, slide the completed tortilla onto a large plate, and let rest a couple minutes.  Slice into 8 wedges and serve, topped with some of the Poblano-Tomato Sauce.

Don't forget to stop by and visit the Volver round up for Food 'n Flix over at CulturEatz!



  1. So glad the subtitles did not stop you and that you enjoyed the movie. I love you tortilla with a Mexican chorizo and that poblanon tomato sauce sounds so awesome! Thannks for participating!

  2. I've never tried this but it looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing with us at Tasty Tuesdays this week. :)

  3. It is a tough film to describe without giving spoilers. Great tortilla!!! That sauce is truly inspired!

  4. LOVE this. Thanks for joining Food'N'Flix this month.

  5. This looks absolutely wonderful. I will pin it and try it later.


  6. Great post and review--yes, it's difficult to describe this film without giving away too much. Your tortilla has my mouth watering--it looks delicious! ;-)

  7. I lived on spanish tortillas while living 6 weeks in Seville. I could always find one on the meal, I could ask for it in Spanish and there weren't any strange meats in the cheese ones. ha ha Any they're great with a cod vino blanco.
    Thanks fir the recipe and the movie suggestion,

  8. Your Spanish tortilla with Poblano Tomato Sauce looks fantastic! Hope you have a great 4th of July weekend and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

  9. The Food n' Flix Cooking Club sounds like soooo much fun Lynda. I've never really minded sub titles so I'm keen to watch Volver. It sounds heart warming. Not sure if I could put together such a yummy tortilla though, I'm a bit of a klutz in the kitchen ;-)

  10. I've never tried anything like this dish, but it looks very tasty! It's always fun to share a meal with friends. Thank you for linking up at The Blogger’s Pit Stop. I’m sharing your link on social media.
    Carol (“Mimi”) from Home with Mimi

  11. You dish looks delicious. I have never heard of spanish tortillas before. This looks really different and tasty.

  12. I love Spanish food and your Spanish Tortillas look fantastic I will definitely try this recipe out

  13. It looks super yummy! Thanks for sharing your recipe with SYC.

  14. This is so unique! Thank you for sharing it on The Gathering Place. I loved the story, can't wait to make it.