Adapted from Alex Múgica, executive chef, La Cocina de Alex Múgica, Pamplona, Spain
Although tortilla Española is delicious, the thick, frittata-like omelette is usually a homely affair, served by the slice on a plate or on a piece of baguette. This elegant version, which features oil-poached potatoes, quail egg and truffled potato purée, is a mainstay at La Cocina de Alex Múgica in Pamplona, Spain.
Chef Alex Múgica has won multiple awards at tapas and culinary competitions in Pamplona and the province of Navarra. His namesake restaurant is on Calle Estafeta, most famous as the route taken by the charging bulls and thousands of tourists each morning during the Feast of San Fermin.
At the restaurant, the dish is served in an eggshell. To do this, use paring knife or scissors to cut off tops of 8 eggs. Pour out yolks and whites, and reserve for another use. Boil shells to sterilize. To add whimsy, arrange in cardboard egg carton to serve. It’s best enjoyed with small spoon to reach the bottom of shell so you combine tastes into one bite.
- 2 medium starchy potatoes, like russet
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Arbequina from Navarra
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- ¼ cup heavy cream, warmed
- 8 quail eggs
- Maldon salt, to taste
- 1 ounce potato chips, crushed
- 8 thin slices black truffle, preferably fresh
- 1 teaspoon truffle oil
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
Cut 1 potato into ¼-inch dice. Warm olive oil in small pot. Poach potato for 5–7 minutes, not allowing oil to smoke or bubble. Drain potato on paper towels. Set aside.
Cut remaining potato into ½-inch dice. Bring large pot of well-salted water to boil. Add potato and cook approximately 20 minutes. Drain potato, reserving 1 ounce of cooking water. Place potato, melted butter, cream and cooking water in food processor. Process until smooth.
Bring shallow pot of water to boil. Add quail eggs one by one and cook until whites are set, about 1 minute. Transfer to paper towel, and pat dry.
Divide potato cubes between 8 small cups or sterilized eggshells, straining off excess oil. Layer in poached quail eggs, sprinkle of Maldon salt, crushed potato chips, truffle and potato purée. Add drops of truffle oil. Garnish with scallion. Serves 8.
Múgica prefers a glass of Bodegas Ochoa’s Rosado de Lagrima, made from Garnacha, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, alongside his stylistic version of Spanish omelette. “Rosé from Navarra offers a full mouthfeel and flavors of raspberry and strawberry that will hold up to the creaminess of the potato foam and richness of quail egg.”