When I was a college student studying abroad in Madrid, the Señora I lived with packed lunch for me everyday. Without fail, she offered a few tart clementines, and one of two sandwiches: I forget the first (likely a thin slice of jamón), but the second was tortilla. Make a more dynamic version than she did: use any leftovers you might have from this recipe, but add roasted red peppers, packed in good olive oil. If you bring this sandwich along for a picnic, the olive oil and pesto will seep into the crusty baguette, and it will be mighty tasty. (I took advice about allowing the cooked potatoes to mellow with the eggs from Haidar Karoum’s recipe in Esquire magazine.) There are many uses for extra pesto: on pasta with even more vegetables, on sandwiches, as a pizza base, to top a soup. You can also freeze it in a sealed container for some future, chilly day. —Cristina Sciarra
Wash the asparagus, and then peel or cut off the tough bottoms; discard. Blanche the asparagus in simmering water for 2 minutes, just until they turn bright green and become a little tender. Immediately move them to an ice bath, to arrest cooking. Dry the asparagus, chop it up, and move it to the bowl of a food processor. Similarly, wash the spinach, and then blanche that too (you can use the same water). Try to squeeze as much moisture out of the spinach as possible. Move the drained spinach to the food processor, also. Chop the chives, and add them to the food processor as well.
Add the pine nuts, the cheese, the black pepper, the salt, and the lemon juice and zest to the food processor. Turn on the machine, and pour in the olive oil in one steady stream. When the pesto is blended to a fairly smooth consistency, give it a taste; adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Halve, and then thinly slice, the onion. Peel the potatoes. Slice them in half, lengthwise, and then cut all four halves crosswise, quite thinly. (You want thick-ish, half moon potato chips.)
Pour the olive oil into an 8-inch pan; warm the oil over low heat. Add the onion, and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add the potato, and stir gently to coat with the olive oil. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are soft but not browned. (Since I cut the potatoes quite thinly, some pieces fell apart as I stirred occasionally; it’s not the end of the world.)
Crack the eggs into a large bowl, and scramble them with a fork or whisk. Add the salt and pepper, along with the cooked potatoes and onion. Tent the bowl with plastic wrap, and let it sit for a while; the warm potatoes will release starch into the egg mix, everything will marry together, and the resulting omelette texture will be soft and lovely. (I left the bowl on the countertop for 1 hour, but any longer than that, move the bowl to the fridge.)
In the same pan you used to cook the potatoes, heat 1 more tablespoon of olive oil over low heat. Stir another 1/4 cup of minced chives into the reserved egg mixture, and then pour that into the pan. Use a spatula to swirl in 1/4-1/2 cup of the pesto. Cook the omelette on medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, or until the oil is bubbling gently around the edges of the pan, and the egg looks almost set.
Now comes the tricky part: you need to flip the tortilla. Turn off the range, and put on some oven mitts. Lay a large plate (it has to be larger than the pan) face down across the pan. Carefully, flip the pan upside down, so that the omelette falls onto the plate. Place the pan back onto the range, and turn the heat back on. Using a spatula to aid you, slide the omelette back into the pan. Cook the tortilla for another 5-7 minutes. Finish with a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt.
Cristina is a writer, cook, and day job real estate developer. She studied literature, holds an MFA in Fiction Writing, and completed the Basic Cuisine course at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She lives in Jersey City with her husband--a Frenchman she met in Spain--and their sweet black cat, Minou. Follow her writings, recipes, publications and photography at theroamingkitchen.com.