Torta is easy enough to whip up after a long day of work or chores, when you want something delicious and satisfying now. Combining eggs with ground meat, fish, crab, or talong (eggplant), torta’s simplicity has made it a staple in Pinoy households.
Bump tortang talong up a notch by cooking it in the style of a Spanish tortilla, a thick omelet made with sliced potatoes and onions. Golden on the outside and filled with smoky eggplant, hearty potatoes, and sweet onions, this dish is perfect to eat at any time of the day. Serve it with aioli for a touch of creaminess, or ensalada for a burst of freshness.
Don’t be scared of the flip
The most difficult part of this recipe is turning the thick tortilla over to cook the other side. But all it takes is a 10% handiwork and 90% confidence!
- Loosen the tortilla: Once the edges of the tortilla lighten and firm up, run a rubber spatula along the sides of the pan to release the edges of the tortilla. The bottom should be completely cooked before you flip. To check, give the pan a little shake; the tortilla should slide around without resistance if the bottom is fully cooked!
- Get a big plate: Place a large plate on top of the pan. It should be at least an inch or so bigger. Hang onto the handle of the pan with your dominant hand, and place your non-dominant hand flat against the bottom of the plate.
- Flip: Quickly, firmly, and with conviction, flip! A moment’s hesitation can break your tortilla. The uncooked side will be runny and your tortilla might tear a little, but that’s okay. Gently slide it back onto the pan and let the bottom cook.
- 2 eggplants
- 1 ½ cup potatoes
- ½ cup white onion
- 4-5 cups extra virgin olive oil
- 4 eggs, beaten
- salt, to taste
Roast eggplant: Brush eggplant with neutral oil. Using tongs, roast and rotate eggplant over an open flame until the skin blisters. Once skin is blackened, remove eggplant from heat and transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining eggplant. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let eggplants steam and cool down. Once cool to the touch, remove the stems and scrape off the blackened skin to reveal the cooked eggplant meat. Transfer eggplant to a plate and mash with the back of a fork. Season with salt. Set aside.
Prep potatoes and onions: Peel potatoes and rinse under cold water. Slice potatoes into ¼-inch thick pieces using a sharp knife or a mandoline. Slice onions into half moons of the same thickness.
Fry potatoes and onions: Heat extra virgin olive oil in a deep skillet over medium low heat. Add white onion. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Slowly add potatoes in batches to avoid oil splatters. Increase the heat to medium and cook until tender for about 8-12 minutes, stirring from time to time to prevent the potatoes from sticking to the pan. To check if the potatoes are done, pierce them with the tip of a knife.
Make egg mixture: Remove potato-onion mixture from the pan with a slotted spoon, draining out as much oil as possible. Add to a bowl with beaten eggs. Add eggplant and gently fold into the egg mixture until evenly incorporated. Season with salt. If you have extra time, you can let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. This will help the tortilla hold together better.
Fry tortilla: Remove about 80% of the extra virgin olive oil from the same deep skillet and set aside for future use. Place the skillet over medium heat. Once oil is hot,add the egg and potato mixture. Using a spatula, distribute the potatoes across the pan in an even layer. Cook undisturbed until the edges of the tortilla mixture begin to form curds and firm up, about 2-3 minutes depending on the heat of your pan. Run the spatula around the edges of the pan to release the sides of the tortilla.
Flip: Get a plate that’s slightly larger than your skillet. Place the plate on top of the pan and carefully (but confidently!) flip the tortilla onto the plate. Place the pan back on the heat. If the pan looks dry, add a little more oil. Gently slide the tortilla back into the pan uncooked-side down. Tuck the edges of the tortilla back under with a spatula. Continue to cook for about 1-2 minutes.
Serve: Slide the tortilla into a serving plate. Slice like a cake and serve immediately with a side of ensalada and aioli.