Classic Spanish Tortilla with Roasted Jalapeno Pesto

Spanish tortillas (or frittatas, depending upon your country of influence) are a godsend for brunch entertaining. A classic egg dish every bit as delicious and satisfying as an omelet, a tortilla takes far less time to prepare than individual omelets ever could -- you simply whisk everything up in a bowl, transfer to a nonstick or really well-seasoned cast-iron pan, and bake until puffy. You also benefit from a bit of wiggle room with timing, as tortillas, a version of which is on the menu of nearly every tapas spot in Spain, are traditionally served at room temperature. I used to serve this tortilla adorned with kicked-up parsley-based pesto at my restaurant Bolo many years ago, and now I serve it on tortillas in my home kitchens, as well as on fish tacos, grilled pork, scrambled eggs, and even homemade pizza.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 5 min (includes cooling time)
  • Active: 1 hr 20 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

Roasted Jalapeno Pesto:

3 large jalapenos

Canola oil 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

2 cups tightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves 

1/4 cup pine nuts 

1 garlic clove, chopped 

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil 

1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 

Classic Spanish Tortilla:

1 cup olive oil

1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes (3 or 4 medium), peeled and thinly sliced on a mandoline 

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves 

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1 medium Spanish onion, halved and thinly sliced 

9 large eggs 

Directions

  1. For the Roasted Jalapeño Pesto: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the jalapenos with a few teaspoons of canola oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet in an even layer and roast until golden brown and charred, turning once, about 18 minutes. Return the jalapenos to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let steam for 15 minutes. Peel and seed the jalapenos (discard the skin and seeds) and transfer to a food processor. 
  3. Add the parsley, pine nuts, and garlic to the food processor and pulse to coarsely chop. With the motor running, add the olive oil through the feed tube and process until smooth. Scrape into a bowl, fold in the cheese, and season with salt and pepper. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered, for up to 2 days. 
  4. For the Classic Spanish Tortilla: Heat 1/2 cup of the oil in a 10-inch nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron pan over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Add half the potatoes and one-third of the thyme and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat if needed, so that they do not brown, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a paring knife, about 8 minutes. Remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon and transfer them to a colander set over a bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 cup oil to the pan and heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the remaining potatoes and one-third more of the thyme, season with salt and pepper, and cook as you did the first batch. Transfer the second batch of potatoes to the colander with the first and set aside. 
  5. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the pan into a heatproof measuring cup and set aside. Heat the oil remaining in the pan over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining thyme and season with salt and pepper. 
  6. Preheat the broiler. 
  7. Whisk together the eggs in a large bowl until lightly frothy and evenly colored, about 2 minutes. Fold the potatoes and onions into the eggs until evenly combined. In the pan you used to cook the potatoes, heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the egg mixture to the pan, making sure the potatoes and onions are evenly distributed. As soon as the edges firm up, after a minute or so, reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the bottom is set and light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and broil until the top is puffed and lightly golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, depending on the strength of your broiler. 
  8. Rub a spatula around the outside of the pan and along the bottom and slide the tortilla out onto a cutting board. Cut the tortilla into wedges and transfer to a plate. Let cool slightly. 
  9. To serve: Drizzle the tortilla with pesto and serve warm (not hot) or at room temperature. Do not refrigerate.  

Cook’s Note

The Roasted Jalapeno Pesto recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups.

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