Mussel, Potato & Saffron Tortilla

When I heard the name of the dish I was dubious but then I saw it and immediately it conjured up a sweet fragrant flavour & smell.  And it was a very simple dish to prepare.


5 large eggs
3 large waxy spuds – peeled and sliced thinly using a mandolin
1 small onion sliced
1 tablespoon chopped lemon thyme
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 kg fresh raw mussels quickly blanched to allow you to easily remove from the shell but being careful not to cook them at this stage, removed from the shell ** this is a 1 kg bag of raw mussels in the shell so would probably be about 200g mussel meat.

A pinch saffron (optional)
Olive oil for frying


Heat the olive oil in a wide saucepan (the oil should be about 4 cm deep). Add a layer of thinly sliced potatoes sprinkled with sea salt, then some sliced onion and finally a little more potato and salt, cook over a medium heat **(adding the potato in single layers, prevents them sticking together). The potato should not deep fry, but rather gently poach. Turn the slices over and once tender, remove and drain on kitchen paper. Continue to fry the potatoes and onion in this way until they have all been cooked.

Beat the eggs together with a little sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, add the thyme, saffron, lemon zest and potato slices and leave to marinate for 20 minutes or so – this is a good time to remove the mussels from the shell – a rather time consuming task, but one which is made more bearable with a glass of something delicious!

Heat a little more olive oil in a large wide frying pan, add the mussels to the egg mixture and the parsley and gently mix through until they’re evenly distributed. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and gently press the potato slices down, cooking at a sizzle at first as you move the egg mixture from the base of the pan gently with a spatula (a bit like making an omelette). Then turn the heat down a little as you don’t want to over cook the mussels and once the base has formed a golden crust, loosen the side of the tortilla from the pan, place a large dinner plate over the top and invert in one quick movement, so that the tortilla is now on the plate, slide the uncooked side back into the frying pan and continue to cook until golden. You can repeat this process a couple of times in order to give you a more golden crispy crust. The whole procedure probably takes no more than 5 minutes.

The tortilla is best served immediately.

Chef:  Maggie Beer

Serves 4 as a light lunch or more as a tapas


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