On a brisk Tuesday morning, weekend brunch can feel very very far away. Oddly enough, it is at this darkest hour (in terms of brunch availability) that I like to think about it. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I like to make fairly epic brunches that are anything but off-the-cuff. Yes, my lazy Sundays require a fair amount of planning which, depending on your perspective, may seem deeply sad or aspirational. I may be wildly Type A about my weekend plans, but when it comes to sketching out something as delicious as this Swiss Chard Spanish Tortilla with Tomato Horseradish Jam, it’s a form of relaxation in and of itself. And the cooking? Well, what could be more satisfying than living out your Tuesday aspirations on a Sunday? It’s a delicious circle of success.
If you’re tuning into this blog from a desk somewhere in Canada, you know that this coming weekend is doubly exciting for brunch enthusiasts. It’s almost Thanksgiving weekend here in the True North Strong & Free, which means a holiday Monday, which means an extra morning on which to brunch. I’m sure most of you are more concerned with turkey and pumpkin pie type things, but I’m here for the eggs benny and this Swiss Chard Spanish Tortilla.
Naturally, I have an actual Thanksgiving dinner planned and, as promised, it does involve the leftover mole from these Stuffed Poblano Peppers. Can you still call something a leftover when you have more of it leftover than you used in the original recipe? Something to contemplate. Anyway, I do have an actual dinner planned, but for me, it’s the three slow mornings that I’m most looking forward to. And you better believe this Swiss Chard Spanish Tortilla is going to have a repeat performance at some point in the course of those three mornings.
Okay, so I pride myself on creating a blog that doesn’t shame its readers for their lack of food knowledge or vocabulary. So, if you’re scratching your head while staring at a picture of an omelet and reading the word “tortilla” I refuse to let you feel bad. A Spanish Tortilla is thin slices of potato and onion bound together by lightly beaten eggs cooked in oil. Some variations on this bare-bones dish include the addition of peppers, chorizo, ham, or, as in this case, swiss chard (not in any way traditional, btw). I encountered the Spanish Tortilla twice when I visited Barcelona last December. The first time it was part of the continental breakfast at my hotel and the second was at the excellent restaurant Cal Pep. Complete love at first bite.
So, now you might be wondering why it’s called a “tortilla” when it’s clearly not a corn flatbread that plays nice with all sorts of spicy fillings. Well, “tortilla” is actually the Spanish word omelet. In fact, in Mexico, when you want a tortilla that is actually an omelet, you would ask for la tortilla de huevos or Omelet Francesa – the classic rolled style of omelet. Latin American countries, where both the Spanish version of the tortilla and the more familiar (to North Americans) flatbread are consumed, call today’s dish a Tortilla Espanol to differentiate.
In Spain, where the Spanish Tortilla hails from, they call it tortilla de patatas or potato omelet. Since we (North Americans) live in countries where the corn tortillas, French omelets and tortilla de patatas exist simultaneously, I’m going to continue to refer to today’s dish as a Swiss Chard Spanish Tortilla. Cool? Cool.
Now, before I run headfirst into the finer points of this recipe, I feel it would remiss of me to ignore the very real democratic crisis underway in Barcelona. A dear friend of my boyfriend lives there with her two extremely cool sons and I am, of course, concerned for their safety. Please do not take my posting of a typically Spanish dish as any form of solidarity with the actions of the Spanish government in Madrid. I do believe that for democracy to work, people have to have a say (even if it is symbolic). I do not feel that this basic definition of democracy is currently being upheld in Barcelona. If you have no idea about what I’m talking about and you would like to, please take a moment and read this.
I do not like wading into politics on this blog because I don’t believe my readers are here for that. In addition to that, I believe in food’s power to build bridges and am hesitant to inject any political message into the recipes I create. On the other hand, I feel it is equally negligent to pretend food is apolitical. It is not. But when I step into the kitchen please know, my intention is always to bring people together and make them happy. Okay, we good? Good.
So, you may have noticed there is a little excess moisture from the swiss chard in this last photo. I decided to leave the photo in as a cautionary tale of what can happen if you don’t wring out your swiss chard thoroughly. You may have noticed the recipe below tells you to place your swiss chard in a piece of cheesecloth and wring it without mercy. Well, I showed mine too much mercy when I made this dish for this shoot. I have since made it again and not had this problem. So, when it comes time for you to make your own Swiss Chard Spanish Tortilla and Tomato Horseradish Jam, wring out that swiss chard with all the vigor you can muster.
One more thing before I leave you to make the brunch of your dreams, I want you to know that you can totally make the tomato jam ahead of time. In fact, I recommend it. Crack open a bottle of white, crank a podcast (may I suggest You Must Remember This?) and gently simmer some tomatoes. It makes for a surprisingly good time.
- 1 bunch red swiss chard, thoroughly washed and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 teaspoons salt, divided
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced
- 4-5 cipollini onions, thinly sliced
- 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup Manchego cheese, thinly sliced
- 1 batch Tomato Horseradish Jam (see below)
- 5 Roma Tomatoes, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 cup prepared horseradish
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- Place tomatoes and garlic in the large food processor. Blitz until smooth.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the tomato/garlic puree to the pan followed by the remaining olive oil, salt, and sugar. Stir until the salt and sugar dissolve, about 3 minutes.
- Stir in the horseradish and balsamic vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and let cook for 35-40 minutes or until it reaches a jam-like consistency.
- Remove the jam from the heat and taste. Adjust the seasoning with additional salt if necessary.
- Let the jam cool completely before transferring to the fridge. The jam will keep for 1 week in the fridge.
- Serve the jam chilled or at room temperature.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the swiss chard in batches, starting with the stalks first, and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of salt. Cook until the swiss chard leaves are wilted and the ribs are tender. About 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the chard from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. Set the chard aside to cool.
- Pour 1 cup of the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Arrange the potato and onion slices evenly around the base of the pan.
- Place the skillet over medium heat and cook until the potatoes and onions begin to brown on the edges, about 5-7 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and strain the excess oil from the potatoes and onions. Place the potatoes and onions in a large bowl to cool and pour 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil back into the pan.
- Place the now cooled swiss chard on top of three layers of cheese cloth. Form the cloth into a bundle and hold it over the sink. Wring out the swiss chard until it is expressing little to no liquid.
- Place the chard into the bowl with the cooling potatoes and onions.
- Once the onions and potatoes are cool enough to handle, pour the eggs over top followed by 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt. Toss to coat the ingredients in the egg mixture and to ensure they are evenly distributed.
- Heat the 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil in the non-stick pan over medium heat until shimmering.
- Pour the egg/potato/chard mixture into the pan. Cook until the egg around the edges sets and brown. While the tortilla is cooking, constantly coax the edges inward to form a curve instead of a lip, using a rubber spatula.
- Place a large dinner plate on top of the uncooked side of the tortilla and invert the pan. Place the pan back on the burner and slide the tortilla back into the pan to cook the other side.
- While the tortilla is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet until shimmering.
- Add the mushrooms and sprinkle with the remaining salt. Saute until deep amber, about 7-10 minutes.
- When the tortilla is done, once again, place a dinner plate on top of it and invert the pan. Top the tortilla with a smear of tomato jam, sauteed mushrooms and shavings of manchego cheese. Cut into slices and serve immediately with additional cheese and jam on the table.