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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Brunch Werk - "Torta Española" Recipe

I have been working on a little side project involving brunch recently which has been a welcome respite from the 9 to 5 rat race. More to come on that at a later date, but it has got me thinking beyond the composed dinnertime  realm for recipe ideas, and more along the lines of breakfast and day time dishes.

Eggs are always one of my favorite foods, and I will honestly eat them any time of the day, but I often struggle with how to elevate them when it comes to serving them to guests.

It goes without saying I love brunch, being gay and all, but I don’t often find egg dishes super exciting or memorable when looking over a menu. I mean I’ll order a benedict or a shirred egg when out to brunch, but I usually end up feeling like I could have done it better at home by the time I am done. So, when looking for brunch project inspiration, I avoided my Sunday dining references, and  started to think back to some of the time I spent in Europe while I was studying abroad in Rome.

One of my favorite dishes,  one perfect for a poor college student country hopping on a shoestring budget, was Tortilla Española. Whether it was late night in a tapas spot in Madrid, a café in Barcelona or a beach bar in Malaga, I could always count on finding the eggy, starchy and sometimes cheesy hybrid of a quiche and an omelet at a reasonable price and in good supply. It was this reminiscing that led me to attempt my own twist on the classic Spanish dish as a part of developing a brunch menu.

I decided for ease of prep, storage, and service, this would have to have a crust, and therefore part from Spanish tradition and lean more toward the quiche end of things. Beyond that, I wanted to pump up the flavor and decided my version would most certainly contain salty, nutty Manchego cheese and a savory, piquant chorizo. I debated how I would incorporate the requisite potato, without which I could reasonable even reference the Tortilla Española name, and vacillated between attempting to avoid injury on the mandolin by thinly slicing the spuds and simply grating them and mixing freely with the eggs. I decided on the latter, as I figured it would offer a lighter texture since the “Torta” as I was now calling it, already had a starchy crust, layers of potatoes would just be far too heavy.

I whipped it all together one morning and ended up adding a healthy dose of oakwood smoked paprika (My fave brand found here), a minced white onion, and generous garlic powder, salt and white pepper. I lined by deep pie pan with crust and simply filled it in with the wet ingredients, topping it off with more paprika just for color. It took slightly longer to cook than I expected but the result was golden-red and delicious. I ended up serving it at an impromptu day time champagne kiki (A kiki is a party, look it up) I held for one of my friends celebrating a birthday and in from out of town. It was a boozy brunchy hit!

My “Torta Española” will most certainly take a top spot in my emerging brunch repertoire.


  • 10 eggs
  • 1 white onion – finely chopped
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 cups grated/shredded potato (you can use frozen hash brown)
  • 8oz Chorizo - diced
  • 2 pie crusts – homemade or frozen
  • 6 oz Manchego cheese, crumbled or roughly grated
  • 1 tablespoon white pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon oakwood smoked paprika + 1 teaspoon for finishing


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine eggs, half and half, and spices. Beat until evening incorporated (I use an immersion blender on low to speed things up). Place one pie crust in the bottom of a large pie pan. Cut the other pie crust into a long strip and work around the edges of the pan for a strong side crust and edge. Add the onions, cheese, and chorizo to the egg mixture and mix well. Pour slowly into the pie pan. Sprinkle teaspoon paprika over top for color. Bake for 35-50 minutes depending on your oven until the center is set and the crust is golden brown. Let stand for 20 mins or chill and serve.

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