There are countless reasons to celebrate right about now. When I look out the window in the morning I see green instead of brown, gray and white. The windows are open, the air is warm and the open-toed shoes are out of storage. After the winter we’ve had, I would take a sunny day with temps above 60 as a reason to celebrate. But this year I get a lot more than warm weather to make for special meals. Easter and Passover share the week with the Twinkle Twin’s second birthday, so it’s a big week of partying around here.
At least in the USA cooking for celebrations usually centers around a large hunk of meat. Easter has a ham, Thanksgiving a turkey and Passover usually gets a slow-cooked brisket. There are, however, lovely meatless options that can make a real statement. They can be the center of the meal for a vegetarian feast or a striking side-dish to stretch the meat further. This impressive layered vegetable tortilla is not only lacto-ovo-vegetarian, but it’s also gluten-free and Kosher for Passover (if you use cheese that is Kosher for Passover).
Trying to nail down the prep/photography/instructions for this recipe while wrangling three kids almost broke me. If you make this, I highly recommend making sure your little ones are sleeping peacefully or happily entertained when you prep everything. Really, the only complicated part of this whole dish is arranging the sliced potatoes in the bottom of a hot pan. But it does take a little time to saute the vegetables. If you do have a hectic household, you’re certainly best served by cooking your veggies and grating your cheese the day before.
If you don’t have a mandoline for the potatoes, slice them as thin as possible. Hold off on slicing the potatoes until the last minute though so they don’t turn brown on you. I don’t recommend soaking them because the water might cause the hot grease to splatter. Take your time and build this dish one ingredient at a time. Be sure to season as you go. The mushrooms should be just as perfectly seasoned with salt and pepper as the spinach and onions, but be careful not to over salt anything.
The inspiration for this dish is the Spanish Tortilla de Patata. Traditionally it’s a dish of potatoes fried in olive oil, drained and then cooked stove-top in egg. It’s a simple dish found all over Spain and possibly the most famous of all tapas. All the recipes I looked at listed the amount of olive oil needed in cups, not tablespoons, and even though you reserve most of the oil for another use, I didn’t feel like deep frying anything. Instead, thinly sliced potatoes fry in a few tablespoons of olive oil and also form a crust for the rest of the veggies. After layering the vegetables with cheese, you then pour the beaten egg over everything which holds it all together. With a full pound each of potatoes, spinach, mushrooms and onions, this vegetable pie pack some real dense nutrition. Of course it also packs a half pound of cheese and eight eggs, so it’s not exactly health food, but it is a delicious special occasion treat that will impress vegetarians and meat-lovers as well. It’s worth the little extra effort. Even though I had to decompress after my day with three little ones, every layer of this tortilla was worth the effort. Enjoy!