Tortilla Espanola & Utah Fry Sauce

IMG_7344This is the recipe you wish you had when you were courting.  At the courting stage the goal is to convince the object of your desire that you aren’t a complete idiot. Whipping up a delicious and exotic sounding omelette using potato chips and eggs is an excellent start. Of course they’ll figure it out soon enough. “Complete…total idiot!!! What was I thinking??? Well, there is that thing with potato chips and eggs.”

I didn’t invent this version of Tortilla Espanola. Full credit goes to Chef Jose Andres. He extolls the virtues of small batch Spanish potato chips. Potatoes, oil, and salt are their only ingredients.  The thickness to crunch factor is perfectly balanced.  In an omelette the chips are reconstituted during the cooking process.  They become tender and impossibly thin slices of potato.

Andres has also discovered flavored kettle chips. So, using Sea Salt and Vinegar chips, or whatever else is on hand, works. Pour some beer into a couple of jelly glasses and you have created a romantic little meal.

In Spain potatoes are frequently served with Salsa Brava. It’s a spicy tomato based sauce. It is usually accompanied by aioli. In Seville, Valencia, Córdoba, and Grenada most bars mix the Salsa Brava and aioli together. The grocery store in the Albaycin carries Hellmann’s mayonnaise based Brava Sauce. It’s good, but you aren’t going to find it in the states.

In trying to come up with a stateside equivalent to Salsa Brava I could only come up with Utah Fry Sauce. My youngest daughter, Marleigh, turned me on to this stuff. She took us to a drive-in in Utah that serves burgers the size of your head, baskets of fries, and tubs of fry sauce. We are talking seriously big portions! When it’s below freezing and your clientele is wearing Arctic parkas with coyote trim, cargo shorts, and flip flops your portions better be big!

Utah Fry Sauce and a Tortilla Espanola are a match made in heaven. I’d be remiss not to include Alabama White Sauce though. Every refrigerator should contain a squeeze bottle full of it at the ready. It’s addictive, and you can put it on everything except pancakes.

Tortilla Espanola

Ingredients: A fist full of potato chips, five thin slices of spring onion, three eggs, a dash of salt, a dash of smoked paprika, a drizzle of olive oil.

Fry the onion slices in olive oil and reserve.  Stir the eggs until slightly frothy. Mix the onions into the eggs. Grab a handful of potato chips and place them on top of the egg and onion mixture. If no one is watching use the palm of your hand to flatten the chips. Otherwise use a spatula, but it’s not as satisfying. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil into an omelette pan. When the oil begins to spread out in the pan dump in the egg mixture.  When the bottom of the omelette is golden brown invert it onto a plate. Then slide it back into the pan uncooked side down. (If you mess up that step, the object of your desire will reach an undesirable conclusion immediately.) When the bottom is brown, and no egg bubbles up when you pierce the omelette with a fork, slide it onto a clean plate. Dust it with some salt, and smoked paprika. It isn’t necessary to eat it right away. The Spanish serve it at room temperature.

Utah Fry Sauce

Ingredients: 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup ketchup, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 3 to 4 teaspoons pickle juice ( add one tsp at a time & taste)…

Options: Substitute 1/4 cup chili sauce & 1/4 cup ketchup instead of using straight ketchup. If you go with straight ketchup add cayenne pepper 1/4 tsp at a time for some kick.

Whisk the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Chill and serve. Refrigerate up to two weeks. (You will be tempted to use a blender, or food processor. Don’t! Hand processed is better!)

Alabama White Sauce

There are more complicated recipes for this sauce.  I have tried them. I prefer this stripped down version.

Ingredients: 2 cups mayonnaise, 1cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon agave syrup, 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, 2 teaspoons black pepper, a dash of salt, add cayenne pepper 1/4 tsp at a time to taste.

Whisk the ingredients together in a mixing bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Put the sauce in a squeeze bottle and keep it refrigerated. After two weeks mix up a new batch! Salut!!!


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