I visited a friend in Sacramento this past weekend. We made small trips to the old Wild West towns in the Sierra Foothills, and also explored around her midtown neighbourhood. One of the highlights was the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, a grocery store comparable to the famous Berkeley Bowl, though on a smaller scale. We bought some local produce there and made a delicious vegetarian supper, served with Bonterra Cabernet Sauvignon, an organic wine from Mendocino.
This version of Tortilla Española plays with tradition, incorporating two colours of yams into the mix, along with shallots, which replaced the conventional onion. On the side we sautéed kale and cabbage together, and made homemade bannock, a small (and delicious) homage to the quick-bread of the miners who once frequented the area, and to my own west coast Canadian roots.
Tortilla Española with Red and Purple Yams and Shallots
3 small-medium yellow potatoes
1/2 large purple yam
1/2 large red yam
4 cloves of garlic
A few tablespoons of olive oil
Himalayan Salt and Fresh cracked pepper
Cube the potatoes and yams, and mince the shallots and garlic. Heat the olive oil on medium in an oven safe pan (preferably around 8 inches in diameter). Sauté the shallots, potatoes, and yams together until almost cooked, and slightly crispy around the edges. Add the garlic, salt and pepper and cook for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. Beat 5 eggs together in a bowl. Add the potato-yam mixture, and mix, making sure to leave the potatoes intact. Pour the mixture back into the same pan (re-oil if necessary), and cook on low-medium heat, until the mixture is almost set. When the bottom is crispy (not burnt), and the insides mostly cooked, transfer the pan to the oven, and broil for a 2 or so minutes, until it’s cooked all the way through. Remove from the oven, and using a plate, flip the Tortilla over. Allow to cool for a few minutes, and serve warm.
Sautéed Kale and Cabbage
6 kale leaves
1/3 medium cabbage
3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
Dash of sugar (optional)
Chop kale and cabbage into relatively fine strips. Heat the oil on medium-low. Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so. Add cabbage and sauteed for another 2 minutes. Add kale, and sauté until almost cooked (should be a bit chewy). Add chili flakes, and more garlic if preferred. At the last second, add a few dashes of balsamic vinegar. Cook for one more minute and turn off. If it’s too sour, add a dash of sugar.
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
Salt, pepper and spices (optional)
A few dashes of oil
Mix dry ingredients. Spices are optional, but can add a nice flavour (a little bit of chili, for example, or even dried herbs). Add enough water (and oil at the same too) to make a stiff dough. Mix. Nothing fancy here, the measurements are never exact. The most delicious way to cook Bannock is to shallow fry it on the stove top, but I baked it instead. If you’re camping, this is also a fun recipe to cook over the fire, wrapped around sticks. Form dough into small, flat discs and bake on an oiled pan for about 20 minutes, until slightly browned. If frying, the dough should be a bit wetter, the cooking time much shorter, and the bread should be flipped once (after puffing). After baking, we cut the bannock in half, toasted it again, and ate it with Humboldt Fog goat cheese.