Food is sacred to me. The table not only brings people together to fill a base need, but also feeds the soul in a much deeper way.
Food is powerful. It jogs memories, brings smiles, initiates conversations, and fills a longing. Ask anyone who knows me well; they can tell you that I mark time, special events, and places I have been by the meals that I’ve eaten. And this feast doesn’t just begin at the table. It begins in the kitchen.
My grandmother knows the power of food more than anyone I know. Being with Nana in the kitchen, I can’t help but feel the depth of my roots. Cooking connects me to those who came before and those who will follow. Sharing hours in the kitchen with Nana is…well, its an extension of my heart.
Recently, Nana taught my sister-in-law, Mary, and I her recipe for Tortilla Española. Typically, I feel a raw vulnerability when I let someone teach me something new. Don’t get me wrong, I love to learn new things. I strive to be challenged. But it takes a certain openness to let someone be the one to teach that lesson. I don’t hesitate to open my heart to Nana.
Every peel of a potato, whisk of an egg, flip of the pan…each are special moments. I hope to etch each into my memory. I cherish time with my family, but in a special way, with this woman who can teach me so much about passion, faith, and love beyond measure.
For the Tortilla Española lesson, we all came together in my parents’s kitchen to learn and feast. Tio, my uncle (I bet you never could have guessed that one), lovingly held Catalina, while Mary guided the small hands of her crew, Ignacio, Cecilia, and Elena as they diligently cracked eggs into the bowl.
Gathering in the kitchen t0 cook with family is a flurry of action that tickles every sense.
The beat of the music that immediately starts when the food hits the countertop is accompanied by the sound of laughter and conversation. The sizzles of frying potatoes and onions join the chorus. My nose rejoices as it recognizes garlic, parsley, and cumin. Eggs become bright golden suns floating in a milky sea. In spite of all that is going on, time slows as I sip my wine, sing and sway my hips to the music – basking in the warmth of the smiles around me.
This wasn’t just making lunch. This, all this, was passing down traditions, love, and knowledge to the next generation. And…it was delicious.
- 8 large eggs
- 1 1/2 pounds red-skinned potatoes, peeled and sliced
- 16 oz pack of bacon
- 1 medium white onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and sliced
- 1 1/4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons drained capers
- freshly ground sea salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook the potatoes and bacon until browned all over, about 6 minutes. Remove the potatoes and bacon with a slotted spoon, set aside, and season with salt and pepper.
- Add onions to the already heated oil. Cook until tender. Remove onions from oil and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, parsley, garlic powder, and cumin together. Add in the capers, potatoes, bacon, and onions. Gently mash the ingredients together. Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove all but about 2 tablespoons oil from skillet and add egg mixture. Cook over medium heat, lifting at the edges and tilting skillet to let uncooked egg run underneath, until bottom and edge of tortilla are set but center is still wet.
- Set a large plate on top of skillet. Swiftly invert tortilla onto plate, then slide it back into skillet, cooked side up. Cook until center is just set, about 2 minutes longer.
- Cut into wedges and serve immediately. Can be enjoyed by itself, with aioli or salsa, or on a delicious bocadillo.
- Instead of turning the tortilla on a plate, you can invest in a Frittata Pan Set.