Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Mushroom and Chard Tortilla with Spanish Sofrito

In France, there’s the omelet; in Italy, there’s the frittata; and in Spain, there’s the tortilla—a stuffed-egg dish usually filled with thinly sliced or grated potatoes and onions. Here, I went with mushrooms and chard, keeping it earthy, and then added a little salty bite with shredded Manchego cheese—keeping it Spanish.

A Spanish tortilla is great all by itself, but a sofrito on top makes it even better. Sofrito is the basic tomato sauce of Spain, and the beauty (and flavor) is in its simplicity: tomatoes, onion, garlic, and plenty of olive oil—preferably extra virgin. Some recipes include mild pepper, and some throw in a dash of paprika, as I did for this one. It takes only about 30 minutes to make, but I recommend cooking the sauce a few hours ahead of time to let its rich, sweet flavors develop and deepen. Then all you need to do is re-warm it gently while you make the tortilla.

Note: Spanish tortillas typically sport a pretty, dark golden brown color that looks almost crust-like. You achieve that by cooking the top first. In other words, when you pour the egg mixture into the skillet and let it cook until nearly set, the egg on the bottom will become the top when you flip the tortilla over. Don’t be intimidated about that flip. Simply invert a plate overtop the skillet and turn the pan upside down. The tortilla falls bottom-side-up onto the plate and you’re ready to slide it back into the skillet to finish cooking (photos below).

Serves 4


For the Sofrito
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 large cluster tomatoes (13-14 oz total), peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 tsp Spanish paprika
  • sea salt
Sofrito Ingredients
Prepared Ingredients
For the Tortilla
  • 8 large eggs
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 packed cups chopped chard
  • 1 cup finely grated Manchego cheese
Prepared Mushrooms and Chard 
Grated Manchego

For the Sofrito
  1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the oil. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 7-8 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.
  3. Add the tomatoes and paprika and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes break down and the sauce thickens, 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Re-heat gently just before serving, if desired.
Onion in Olive Oil 
Garlic Added 
Tomatoes Added 
Cooked Sofrito
For the Tortilla
  1. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon oil. Add the mushrooms and sauté until softened and their liquid is released, 5-6 minutes.
  3. Add the chard and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until wilted, 2-3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the whisked eggs. Add the cheese and stir gently to combine.
Whisked Eggs 
Mushrooms Beginning to Cook
Softened Mushrooms 
Chard Added 
Egg Mixture
  1. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet, swirling to coat. Pour in the egg mixture, spreading it evenly. Cook 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the eggs are set at the edges and about halfway set in the center, 9-10 minutes.
Note: While the eggs cook, tilt the skillet a few times to move the runny top to the side. Pierce the mixture with a spatula in a few places to help the liquid run underneath. Just as the edges are beginning to set, gently run a spatula around them to be sure the tortilla is loose and the bottom slides in the pan when gently shaken.
  1. Set a flat plate that’s a little larger than the skillet upside down over it. Lift the skillet off the burner and, with one hand firmly against the bottom of the plate and the other holding the skillet's handle, invert the skillet so the tortilla drops onto the plate.
  2. Set the skillet back on the heat and slide the tortilla into it, using a spatula to push any stray ingredients back under the eggs and to tuck in the edges for an even look. Cook until the center is completely set, 4-5 minutes.
  3. Slide the tortilla onto a serving platter and let cool 5 minutes. Transfer the warm sofrito to a serving bowl.
Tortilla Beginning to Cook
Edges Set 
Lift Edge with a Spatula 
Ready to Flip 
Invert a Plate over the Pan
Flipped Tortilla 
Return to Skillet
Cut the tortilla into serving pieces and pass the sofrito at the table for spooning on top.

Mushroom and Chard Tortilla with Spanish Sofrito

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