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Kartoffel Doppelgänger Right In My Own Kitchen

Tortilla Española -- Spanish TortillaCan't say we loved this dish, taste wise, but the accidental photo op after dinner amused me. That's Tortilla Española, Spanish Tortilla, made with potatoes and eggs and not a kernel of corn. Having not yet visited Spain, where this dish apparently is ubiquitous, and so being clueless about its intended taste and texture, I did a radical thing: I followed the recipe from Food and Wine, September, 2008. (The dish as I made it is in the foreground; the photo of the dish is middle-back.) I cooked from an old magazine I discovered in a forgotten reading pile. The ingredient list and procedures made me skeptical that anything wonderful would result, but that photo! Doesn't it look tasty? The picture seduced me with gratin dreams - great taste with less cream. Had I checked reviews online I might have known without trying it that the dish itself (dull, dry) would not enter our standard repertoire of go-to dinner entrees.

Tortilla Española -- Spanish Tortilla

I'm in an ongoing search for dinners centered on eggs. We get wondrous Elmwood Stock Farm certified organic, pastured eggs year-round now. We use them in countless ways, but I have yet to find a winter standard dinner entree that both of us like, lust after, salivate over, look forward to -- and are willing to cook at the last minute, with the ingredients already in the house. (These last criteria being two that come up regularly as one or the other of us heads to the kitchen to make the evening meal. They also explain the antipathy toward souffle´, for example.)

We expect different things from Eggs at Night. One of us likes scrambled eggs for dinner fairly well; one of us remembers creamed eggs on toast fondly from childhood; each of us looks at the other's preferences with raised eyebrow(s) (one eyebrow for him, two for me, since I haven't done the mirror practice necessary to perfect the skeptic's trademark expression). It's a wonder we get along at all.

Summers are easy - we agree on deviled/stuffed/dressed eggs, as many types and flavors as possible. The marvelous Mark Bittman expanded our repertoire of stuffed eggs with his suggestions in How To Cook Everything (1998). According to Serious Eats, Bittman added new deviled egg suggestions in the 10th Anniversary revision (2008) to the first HTCE.

We still search for that perfect, mutual favorite cool weather egg entree, though. Perhaps we will experiment with flavor improvements for the Tortilla Española - bacon, country ham bits, prosciutto, chorizo, or a spicy mayonnaise on the side, as some of the reviewers suggest. On the first try, we got a little chuckle from the looks of the dish, not the taste.

I've found my way to good food from worse starts, and I'd rather practice improvising on this dish than spend time with my inner Paul Ekman, practicing facial muscle location in the mirror until I can raise a skeptic's eyebrow.

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