From sous chef at Fino, to executive head chef of Michelin-starred Barrafina and finally, launching her own restaurant Sabor, Nieves Barragán Mohacho has proven hard work, dedication and a whole load of talent is the recipe for success. Here, she lets us in on how to make Sabor’s renowned tortilla, so you can get a taste of Spain in your own home.
Nieves Barragán Mohacho’s Spanish tortilla
‘A tortilla welcomes anything, so you can be adventurous with what you add to the basic potato and onion mix: peppers, asparagus, leftover roast vegetables… you can eat it hot but some people prefer to eat it the day after. The best is when you come home at 3am to a slice of leftover tortilla. You want to use potatoes that are very yellow inside: I like Maris Piper. The ideal ratio should be 70% potatoes to 30% onions. Making a tortilla is a long journey, and although the final cooking is quick, you will need to be well organised and have lots of pans on hand.’ Nieves Barragán Mohacho
How to make Sabor’s Spanish tortilla at home
- 4-5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus enough to cook the potatoes
- 3 onions, julienned
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 medium potatoes, peeled, halved lengthways, then cut into 3mm slices (a mandolin is useful here)
- 6 medium eggs
- 200g good-quality cooking chorizo cut into approx. 2cm x 2cm cubes
- Alioli to serve
- Put 2 tablespoons of oil into a pan on a low heat, then add the onions with a pinch of salt. Caramelize the onions very slowly until they are dark golden brown. Exactly how long this will take will depend on your pan, but you can’t rush it – around 30 minutes.
- Put at least 3cm of oil into another large non-stick pan on a low-medium heat. Season the sliced potatoes on the chopping board and add to the pan of oil: don’t overcrowd it – cook them in two batches if you need to. Cook until they start to get slightly soft and golden – you don’t want fried potatoes. Remove to a bowl or plate using a spider or a slotted spoon, and cook the second batch, if necessary.
- It’s important to make the tortilla mix while the onions and potatoes are still warm, as this will give your tortilla better flavour (make sure it’s not hot, though: you don’t want scrambled eggs!). First, mix the cooked onions and potatoes together, then whisk the eggs and add to the potato/onion mix. Leave to sit for at least 10-15 minutes. The potatoes will start to absorb the egg, and their juices will mix together.
- Put a drizzle of olive oil into a pan on a medium heat and fry the chorizo until slightly crisp on the outside but still juicy inside. Take off the heat, leave for a minute, then add the chorizo and its cooking juices to the tortilla mix. Mix together.
- Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a medium-sized pan about 4cm deep, and place on a medium heat. When it starts to get warm, pour in the tortilla mix, and reduce the heat to low. You will see the edge of the tortilla start to set: this is when it’s ready to turn.
- Try to get a plate just slightly bigger than your pan – or use your pan lid if it has no rim. It’s best to turn the tortilla off the heat: hold the pan close to you, place the plate on top, then confidently, in one smooth move, turn it over. Bring the plate close to the pan and carefully slide the tortilla back in, using a wooden spoon to judge it into place if you need to. It’s not easy – but you’ll get better with practice.
- You can check how cooked your tortilla is by poking it with a toothpick. Some people like it well done but I like it nice and juicy. You can also press it with you finger: if it rises up at the sides, it is still too eggy. When it is done, turn it out a final time and leave to rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
- Serve sliced, with the alioli on top and a nice piece of bread and some salad leaves – like Little Gem – on the side. Refrigerate any leftover tortilla and take it out of the fridge for an hour or so before eating.