Saturday, March 16, 2013

Project 365: Leek, Pepper, and Potato Tortilla

Have you ever had a Spanish tortilla? It's nothing like the Mexican version, and it's absolutely scrumptious. I  first came across the Spanish tortilla while reading The Jet Set months ago, but didn't do anything about it because her recipe was a little plain (and therefore a little uninspiring). That basic recipe is here. You can go ahead and ignore it, if you want to, but I don't recommend that. I recommend that you go and make this for dinner. Right now. It's good hot or cold!

The recipe that finally got me going was a little gem I found when trying to figure out how to use a leek that I got in my Bountiful Basket. I love leeks (and always have, since I, with an old roommate, discovered how great they are), but I just don't use them much. If you're not familiar with the leek, think of it as the onion's milder, cooler cousin. The leek is fresh, green, and guaranteed to get along great with your party guests or picky family members!

Cheese, Leek, Sweet Pepper, and Potato Tortilla
Adapted from BBC Good Food

butter, for frying
1 leek, cleaned
4-6 small sweet red peppers or 1 regular red bell pepper
3-4 medium-sized potatoes (Iused a combo of Russets and Yukon Golds)
6 eggs
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 c grated medium cheddar cheese

Boil water, add whole potatoes and cook until tender (10-20 minutes, depending on size). Drain and set potatoes aside to cool slightly. Slice the leek and peppers thin, then, in an oven-safe skillet, saute in butter for about 5 minutes until soft. Peel the potatoes, if necessary, and slice into 1/4 inch slices. Layer on top of leek and pepper mixture. Beat eggs and yogurt until smooth (if working by hand, try beating the yogurt with an egg or two before adding the rest of the eggs), mix cheese (reserving a bit to sprinkle on top) into egg mixture, then pour over the top of the potatoes.

Cook, on low, for up to 10 minutes, or until the eggs are mostly set. Add a bit of cheese to the top and finish under the broiler for 5 minutes and serve hot alongside a cold salad.

When preparing leeks, it's important to understand how they're grown. To make the plant grow tall, the farmer mounds up dirt or sand around the stalk as it grows, forcing it ever higher. This is great, because it makes more leek. This is not great, however, because it ensures sandy particulate in between each leeky-leaf. So, wash well!

I learned from Alton Brown the best way to clean a leek: remove scraggly outer leaves, cut off white root end along with a few inches off the top of the dark green leaves, and cut the rest into 3-4 inch sections. Separate each leaf and soak in cold water for five minutes, agitating the leaves and water with your hands a few times. The sand will sink to the bottom, the leeks will float at the top.

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