Spring is in the air, and friends and family are once again on the move, possibly even on their way to your home. Welcome spring visitors with a savory tortilla, or Spanish-style omelet, full of potatoes, ham and spinach. Make it part of a buffet that might also include such simple, seasonal items as roasted asparagus and baby carrots, deviled eggs, goat cheese crostini, poached salmon or a salad of baby peas, tender greens and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. Round out the table with loaves of crusty bread, dishes of cured olives and a special cake or tart from your favorite bakery, and your work is done.
California Pinor Noir and Chardonnay (particularly those with little or no oak aging) are two versatile, food-friendly choices for pouring with the range of flavors on your spring table, so we've put together a list of recently rated wines in those categories to help you complete your spring entertaining plans.
Note: Peeled and sliced potatoes will begin to discolor when exposed to air, so if you slice your potatoes more than a few minutes before frying, hold them in a bowl of cool water, then pat dry before frying to avoid splattering. Famed Spanish chef Ferran Adrià has been known to substitute potato chips for freshly fried potatoes, so if you're short on time, skip step 2 in the recipe below, using the best-quality chips you can find, preferably cooked in olive oil.
• 2 cups best-quality olive oil
• 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 bunch spinach, rinsed and drained
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• 1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1/8 inch thick)
• 6 large eggs
• 1/4 pound ham (preferably Spanish jamón Serrano), diced
You can put your own spin on this dish, using sliced olives, grated Manchego cheese, cooked and shredded chicken or roasted bell peppers.
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat until just shimmering. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes or until translucent and fragrant but not browned. Add the spinach, stirring well to coat with oil, and cook until wilted and bright green, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and transfer to a colander to drain excess moisture. Transfer to a cutting board or food processor and chop finely. Set aside to cool.
2. In a separate pot or a pan with high sides, heat the remaining oil over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Test that the oil is hot enough by carefully sliding one potato slice into the pan; it should sizzle immediately. If it begins to brown too quickly, remove the oil from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes, then try again. Add the potato slices and fry until light brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the pan using a slotted spoon or small strainer, and place on paper towels to drain excess oil. Season potatoes with salt and pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup of the oil.
3. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk together briskly but do not overbeat—the eggs should still be thick and gelatinous. Add the potatoes, spinach and ham and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add the reserved 1/4 cup of cooking oil to a 10-inch sauté pan, preferably non-stick, and warm it over medium heat until it begins to smoke slightly. Add the egg mixture to the pan, smoothing the mixture into the pan with a spatula or wooden spoon to make sure it is evenly distributed. Cook for 30 seconds. Reduce the heat to very low. Once the edges are cooked, place a plate over the top of the pan and carefully invert the pan so that the tortilla winds up on the plate, raw side down. If the pan looks dry, add a few tablespoons of fresh oil. Return the tortilla to the pan by sliding it back in, raw side down. Continue cooking for another 60 seconds, then remove from the pan and let sit for 10 minutes before slicing. Serves 4 to 6.
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