THE CHEF AT THE CÓRDOBA PARADOR, TIMOTEO GUTIÉRREZ RODRIGUEZ, IS A BREED OF SPANISH CHEF WHOSE CALLING IN LIFE IS TO SOURCE AND PRESERVE TRADITIONAL REGIONAL RECIPES. HE, LIKE MANY OF HIS LIKE-MINDED COLLEAGUES, WORKS AT A PARADOR, AN UPMARKET STATE-OWNED HOTEL CHAIN SET UP IN THE MID 20TH CENTURY TO PRESERVE OLD BUILDINGS AND REGIONAL CUISINE. AT ANY PARADOR YOU WILL BE GUARANTEED GOOD TRADITIONAL REGIONAL FOOD. IT MAY NOT BE CUTTING-EDGE AND YOUR DINING PARTNERS MAY ALL BE AGEING AMERICANS BUT THE FOOD WILL BE GOOD QUALITY AND BASED ON TRADITIONAL RECIPES. TIMOTEO’S MENU IS BASED ON RECIPES HE RESEARCHED AFTER YEARS SPENT VISITING THE HOMES OF HOUSEWIVES WELL KNOWN IN THEIR TOWNS AS BEING EXCELLENT CHEFS. PRAWNS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN POPULAR IN CÓRDOBA, TRADITIONALLY SHIPPED IN ON THE INCOMING TIDE OF THE GUADALQUIVIR RIVER. THIS IS A QUICK, LIGHT AND SUCCULENTLY SALTY TORTILLA. IF YOU CAN’T FIND NETTLES, USE ENGLISH SPINACH INSTEAD.
Pour 2 litres (
Wearing rubber gloves, pick the nettle leaves from the stems, then rinse. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, add the nettle leaves and blanch for 1 minute. Drain, refresh in cold water and squeeze dry. don’t worry about the stings on the nettles — they dissolve when cooked.
Place the nettles in a food processor with the eggs and 1 teaspoon of fine sea salt. Process until blended, then transfer to a bowl. Break the prawns in half with your fingers and mix through the egg and nettle mixture by hand.
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick frying pan over high heat. Pour all the prawn mixture into the pan and swirl to cover the base. Using a wooden spoon, draw the outside mixture into the middle for 1½ minutes to start to bring the cooked mixture into the centre of the tortilla, then reduce the heat to medium and form nice rounded edges with the spoon. Cook for another minute, then cover the pan with a large plate and invert the tortilla onto the plate. Carefully slide the tortilla back into the pan, uncooked side down. Cover and cook for another 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and place on a warmed dish. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to stand for 20 minutes.
Serve the tortilla at room temperature with a cold beer, a lightly chilled godello or even a white rioja.
© 2009 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.