I’ve cleaning up some of the documents on my laptop and found the list of recipes for our housewarming party. We kept to a Spanish theme, serving some Spanish red and white wines, several types of cheese, bread, olives etc, as well as a selection of warm tapas. My only main non-theme food was a flourless chocolate cake (decadent and delightful and always a hit — friends have in the past requested it as birthday and Christmas gifts).

All the food was eaten. Rigel, of course, assisted (he ate a WHOLE hunk of aged sheep’s cheese, my favorite of the ones I tasted, so I’d bought two wedges for the party, and was bewildered as to the whereabouts to the second for a brief time).

Here goes for the recipes:

Potato Saffron Omelet

2 large onions, chopped finely
5 tablespoons olive oil
3 baking potatoes, like russets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1/4 cup chicken broth
6 large eggs
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallion greens
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a 12-inch non-stick skillet cook onions in 2 tablespoons oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer onions to a bowl and cool.
While onions are cooking, peel potatoes and cut into 1/4-inch cubes. In a saucepan of boiling salted water cook potatoes until almost tender, about 8 minutes, and drain well in a colander.

Cool potatoes and add to onions. Onion and potato mixture may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered.

Crumble saffron threads into a small metal bowl. In a small saucepan heat broth until hot and pour over saffron. Let mixture stand until saffron is softened, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl whisk together eggs, scallion greens, saffron mixture, and salt and pepper to taste and stir in onion and potato mixture.

In skillet set over moderately high heat, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil until hot but not smoking and add egg mixture, spreading potatoes evenly. Reduce heat to moderate and cook omelet, stirring occasionally, until eggs just begin to set, about 1 minute.

Shift skillet so that 1/4 of omelet is directly over center of burner and cook 1 minute. Shift skillet 3 more times, cooking remaining fourths in same manner. Center skillet and cook omelet over low heat until almost set, about 4 minutes more.

Slide omelet, bottom side down, onto baking sheet and invert omelet back into skillet. Cook other side of omelet until golden, about 4 minutes. Slide omelet onto a platter and cool to room temperature.

Omelet may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring omelet to room temperature before serving.Cut omelet into wedges.

Tortilla Espanola

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons Spanish olive oil
6 cups thinly sliced Spanish onions
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon sugar3 baking potatoes, (about 2 pounds), peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
8 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup julienned serrano ham
Chopped fresh chives, for garnish

Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally. Season with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and sugar. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until wilted, golden, and well caramelized, about 45 to 50 minutes.

Remove the onions from the pan and set aside. Wipe the skillet clean. Pour an additional 1/4 cup of oil into the skillet and heat over medium heat. Season the potatoes with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Add the potatoes to the hot oil and cook, stirring and gently turning, until tender and slightly golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the skillet and wipe the skillet clean.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the skillet over medium heat.

Combine the reserved onions, potatoes, beaten eggs, and ham pieces in a large bowl. Season with the remaining 3/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper.

Add the entire mixture to the hot oil and cook until the bottom is set and the top is still runny, about 12 minutes.

As the bottom of the tortilla is cooking, use a rubber spatula to run around the edge of the eggs, lifting slightly to allow the eggs to run to the bottom and cook.

Place a large plate or serving platter on top of the skillet and invert the tortilla onto the plate. Carefully slide the tortilla back into the skillet so that the browned side is facing upward. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes longer.

Remove the tortilla from the skillet and serve hot, or cool to room temperature, and serve.

To serve, cut tortilla into thin slices and spoon 1 or 2 tablespoons of the Aioli onto the side of the tortilla.

Garnish with fresh chopped chives.

Cabrales Stuffed Poached Pears: Peras Cabrales

6 Bosc pears
1/2 gallon (2 quarts) tardio (a sweet, late harvest wine made from the Torrentes grape), preferred brand, Santa Julia
1/2 gallon (2 quarts) Malbec
1 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
5 star anise
2 cloves
6 tablespoons crumbled cabrales (Spanish blue cheese)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts

Peel pears and remove the core from the bottom using a melon baller, keeping the stem end intact. Scrub the pears with a new abrasive plastic scrubbing pad to remove any rough edges or textures left from the knife. Set the pears aside.

In a large stockpot, combine the tardio, red wine, sugar, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and cloves and bring to a boil.

Add the pears and cook until tender, about 25 minutes. Remove the pears and reduce the remaining liquid by half, about 45 minutes.

In a food processor, puree the cabrales and toasted walnuts, and set aside. Place the mixture in a pastry bag and stuff the pears with walnut and cabrales mixture.

Serve with the reduced poaching liquid.

Albondigas (Meatballs in Garlic-Tomato Sauce)

1 large onion, chopped fine
1 large green bell pepper, chopped fine
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground beef (not lean)
1/2 pound ground pork (not lean)
2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves

Sauce: 4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (33 1/2-ounce) can whole tomatoes, including juice
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled

In a 9-inch heavy well-seasoned skillet (preferably cast-iron) cook onion and bell pepper in 2 tablespoons oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Cool mixture.

In a large bowl combine well onion mixture, ground meat, bread crumbs, salt, nutmeg, and parsley.

Form level tablespoons of mixture into balls (about 90).

In skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown meatballs in batches (about 16 at a time), shaking skillet frequently so that meatballs maintain their shape and adding remaining 3 tablespoons oil as necessary.

Transfer meatballs with a slotted spoon as browned to a bowl.


In a heavy kettle (at least 6 quarts) cook garlic in oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds.

Add tomatoes with juice and oregano and simmer, breaking up tomatoes.

Add meatballs and simmer, covered, gently stirring occasionally, 25 minutes, or until meatballs are tender and sauce is thickened slightly.

Transfer meatballs with slotted spoon to heated serving dish.

If sauce seems thin, boil gently, stirring frequently, until thickened to desired consistency.

Season sauce with salt and pepper and spoon over meatballs.

Meatballs and sauce may be made 2 days ahead. Let it cool uncovered and chill covered. Reheat meatballs before serving.