Not so long ago, I was lucky enough to visit Nieves Barragán’s imitable London restaurant Sabor for a Galician feast.
Barragan is from the Basque country, but the Michelin star chef was duly able to turn her hand to Galician food – unsurprisingly – in the name of supporting a new Spanish gastronomy month for the A Coruña-based beer brand Estrella Galicia.
We were served rich, milky prawn croquetas; pulpo a feira, which translates to ‘fair-style octopus’ and is made by first boiling the octopus inside a large copper cauldron; caldeirada, a messy, moreish fish stew with potatoes, chilli and saffron; and txuleton de rubia gallega, a vast hunk of juicy dairy cow hemmed by yolk-coloured, blistering fat.
Oh yes, and a tortilla gallega, that warm, runny egg dish that bursts with sunshine. Sliced into four or six – depending on hunger – it is a steely starter to share.
At Sabor, Barragán didn’t add any spice or shellfish. Here, she has.
Piquillo peppers provide welcome heat and the prawns bring texture and sweetness. It’s one of those simple, brilliant things.
1l vegetable oil
1.125kg potatoes, peeled and sliced into
900g onions, peeled and finely sliced
2 to 3 tbsps of olive oil
18 fresh and peeled prawns, cut into 1cm cubes
9 free-range eggs, the best quality you can buy
300g tinned or jarred piquillo peppers, drained and cut into 0.5cm strips
1½ tbsp finely chopped fresh chives Maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan until it is just beginning to smoke
Add the potatoes and onions and fry, stirring often, for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown
Remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool a little, then take the potatoes and onions out of the oil with a slotted spoon, and drain on kitchen paper
Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil over a medium heat in a sauté pan. Add the prawns and cook for 20 to 30 seconds, mix gently. Remove and set aside
Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl. Add the potatoes, onions, prawns, piquillo peppers and chives. Season well with salt and pepper
Heat a little more olive oil in a 20cm diameter frying pan, preferably non-stick. Add the egg mixture and cook over a medium heat until it is just beginning to set. This should take about 5 minutes Place a large plate over the frying pan and carefully tip both the plate and the pan over so that the tortilla ends up on the plate, cooked side up. Slide the tortilla back into the pan and cook for another 5 minutes.
Repeat this procedure twice more, cooking for about another 5 minutes on each side. The tortilla should still be a little bit runny in the middle