Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Spanish Tortilla as Autumn Comes to Restoration Farm


You can feel it deep in your soul, even if the weather isn’t quite cooperating. Aromas seem more intense, the harvest moon and stars seem infinitely brighter and every breath you take fills you with anticipation. Autumn has arrived. And, although the thermometer is still flirting with 80 degrees, the vegetables at Restoration Farm have changed – darker flesh, thicker skin and deeper, earthier flavors.



Countless pounds of potatoes have been plucked from the soil, some rose pink and others burnished gold.  How do you describe the taste of a freshly harvested potato?  Words seem inadequate, but you know that all previous potatoes were pale imitations of this rich, creamy flesh and nutty aroma.



These potatoes require a recipe that offers simplicity and a showcase. I chose a traditional Spanish Tortilla – a potato omelet – comprised only of potatoes, eggs, olive oil and salt. Using a 10-inch non-stick skillet, two-and-a-quarter pounds of red and gold potatoes are sliced thin and sautéed in two cups of olive oil until tender. The finished potatoes are seasoned with salt and white pepper and drained. They are then combined with a mixture of 8 eggs beaten vigorously with a pinch of salt. Add two tablespoons of olive oil back into the pan, heat over medium heat and then pour in the egg and potato mixture. Press down the potatoes, and shake the pan periodically as the eggs set, so that the omelet doesn’t stick to the pan. After about 10 minutes, invert the tortilla onto the lid of the skillet, and then slide it back into the skillet with the cooked side up. Continue to heat until the bottom is set and golden. Transfer to a serving plate and serve at room temperature.


It seems fitting to eat the tortilla where the potatoes were grown, and I bring the dish to the Pot Luck Dinner celebrating the autumnal equinox at Restoration Farm.   The heat – and the flies – makes it feel a bit like early August, but the conversation is lively and there is music and an endless array of good food to share.   I think I experience real happiness from the gatherings at this historic farm, where the past, the soil, people and fresh food unite in one community. 





It is quieter as you walk in the field after the meal.  There are still some plum tomatoes on the vines, but the fields seem sparser and the sunflowers have closed and bowed their heads.  


The late afternoon sun hangs lower in the sky.   Is it really possible that the end of the growing season is just beyond the horizon? 


©2010 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved  

16 comments:

~amusette~* said...

great use of those delicious potatoes! love to see the equinox gathering photos ... Long Island comes alive in the fall with it's farming history ... Harvest season's the best ! Enjoy :)

My Carolina Kitchen said...

A Spanish tortilla is a wonderful way to show off those lovely potatoes. I could almost smell fall in the air as I read your post.

Summer is my favorite time, so it's sad to see the last few tomatoes clinging to vine and the sunflowers with their heads bowed down as if they've gone to sleep at the end of the season. But with the beautiful harvest of squashes and potatoes you've shown, mother nature reminds us that life must go on.
Sam

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I love that your CSA actually hosts events to bring members together. Many used to do that, but have given up and now people just meet on pick-up days. Restoration Farm is trying to build a supportive community, and you are all the beneficiaries of their good spirit. It bodes well for the long-term success of the CSA venture.

Mary said...

A Spanish tortilla is not an easy thing to make successfully. You did a marvelous job with yours and I must admit to a bit of tortilla envy. The pot luck at the farm sounds like a really lovely gathering of kindred spirits. It must have been a wonderful day. Have a grand weekend. Blessings...Mary

Kat said...

Nice entry. I will try the Spanish Tortilla for one of our early football games. 2 cups of olive oil?

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Kat - Yes, believe it or not, two cups of olive oil. I remember a chef saying that olive oil is the main ingredient in most traditional Spanish dishes. It's all for flavor, and then most of it is drained off before adding in the eggs. Some recipes say you can use the oil again, but I don't know ...

Fresh Local and Best said...

I think that the flavor of small farm potatoes taste better than the ones bought at the store. It sounds weird, but these potatoes simply have a more pronounced and concentrated potatoey flavor. And while it is not a popular view because of the popularity of recent low-carb diets, I think that potatoes can be nutritious too.

Making Spanish tortilla is on my "to make" list. I've had at restaurants such as Bar Jamon, and would love to try my hand at this. Great job on your tortilla!

Kalyn said...

Looks like a very fun party, and the tortilla looks delish. I've had that a few times at a Spanish restaurant in Salt Lake, and always enjoyed it.

tasteofbeirut said...

One morning my daughter who never cooks, go into the kitchen and whipped up a spanish tortillas; I had never had one before and I was blown away. Love it. Talk about showcasing a few simple but oh so flavorful ingredients!

Barbara said...

Fall is the one season I miss since I moved to Florida...I lived in Michigan all my young life and well remember the slight chill in the air in the morning, the outdoor markets filling up with apples, cider and squash. My mother made the most delicious hubbard squash dish. Wish I knew how to pick a good dry one. It appears to be hit or miss.

Anyway, I think I can see a tree just on the verge of turning in one of your photos. You're right, it won't be long now.

The setting for the pot luck dinner is perfect and so is your tortilla. Goes with anything and everything and even all alone...potato lover that I am!

Sophie said...

Beautiful pictures of the fall's veggies!!

I so much love your tasty frittata,..that's a great idea to make this with your lovely ingredients!


MMMMM,...Lovely food!

Velva said...

I love all your Restoration Farm postings. I love the idea and wish I could be part of it.

Beautiful tortilla using fresh simple ingredients-it does not get any better.

veron said...

i've never tried a spanish tortilla but it sure looks delicious! Yay for autumn, my favorite season!

Table Talk said...

I'm sure your Spanish Tortilla was a hit! What a peaceful setting for a fall picnic. I love what you wrote about the sunflowers bowing their heads~

A Feast for the Eyes said...

I saw a show that depicted how much oil is used in an authentic spanish tortilla. I almost fainted. Your version looks far healthier and quite lovely. What a fun event.
Sorry I've been scarce. Life got crazy, but I'm back and very hungry as I catch up on my foodie friends blogs.

Kathy said...

The Spanish tortilla looks beautiful and delicious. I like that it uses 2 kinds of potatoes, giving it more depth