Tag Archives: torta

Spinach and Potato Torta Tonight!

I know that I’ve written several torta recipes during the short life of this blog. Since the principles are the same, I’ll just refer readers to earlier posts like this or that for recipe details.  There are so many good things about tortas.  They’re relatively simple to make.  They taste even better the next day. They’re inexpensive, versatile, and pretty healthy too.  These past 2 – 3 weeks, we’ve made 3 varieties of torta: one with zucchini, ham and olives; one with broccoli-cauliflower and curry, and a third one with spinach and potatoes.  In both versions, there is a healthy amount of cotija or parmigiano cheese, 2 – 3 eggs depending on preferred consistency, salt and pepper.   To make each torta last three nights and for variety, we usually make a side salad — something simple like cannellini beans with red onions and tomatoes or sauted artichoke hearts with fresh market cheese (something I picked up from an Armenian market).

Torta With Potatoes, Ham And Leeks

Versatile, delicious and even better the next day, tortas are one of my favorite dishes.  In the past few months, my husband has made tortas with cauliflower, an amazing version with cod and porcini, and even one with eggplant. 

Russet potatoes (6 small or 4 regular)

Leeks (8 – 10)

Cotija cheese or Parmigiano


Eggs (3)

Breadcrumbs with Italian seasoning

White Flour

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt and pepper


1 ) Wash the potatoes and slice into thin slices, leaving the potato skin.

2 ) Sauté sliced potatoes in extra virgin olive oil.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

3 ) Once the potatoes are slightly cooked, turn to a low flame and cover with a lid to let it steam. This will soften the potatoes.  The classic Italian recipe calls for boiled potatoes that must be put through a ricer.  My husband adapted the recipe and sped up the process by sauteing the potatoes instead.  As a bonus, the potatoes are more tasteful when sautéd.

4 ) Slice ham into thin strips (julienne) and add to the potates.  The ham doesn’t need to be cooked but this is a good way to add flavor.

5 ) For the leeks, discard the top dark green leaf and use the white roots.  Cut these into thin slices.

6 ) Put the potatoes and ham into a large mixing bowl. 

7 ) Put leeks into the pan where you cooked the potatoes.  Sauté until softened. 

8 ) Mix leeks with potatoes and ham.

9 ) Add in cotija cheese and mix well.   Salt and pepper to taste.

10 ) Break in 2-3 eggs and mix all the ingredients well.  You should use enough eggs to coat all the ingredients.

11 ) Sift in some flour and mix well.  This will help to bind the ingredients.

12 ) Oil a baking pan and line with breadcrumbs. Then pour all the ingredients into the pan.  Press down to form a pie shape.

13 ) Add breadcrumbs to the top.

14 ) Bake for 40 minutes at approximately 350 degrees.  Let the torta sit in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Eat a room temperature or a little warm. Today will be a busy day at work but at least I can look forward to this torta for lunch.

Not So Simple: Torta With Cod, Potato And Porcini

I have to say that my husband really outdid himself with this dish. It was delicious and creative while respecting the main ingredients — cod, potato and porcini. All too often chefs try to outdo each other creatively and forget important things like taste (both of the original ingredients and final results). They fry prosciutto because it’s never been done before, not realizing that the delicate flavor of prosciutto is the reason it should not be fried. They drizzle balsamic vinegar on fresh mozzarella, not caring that the strong taste of balsamic vinegar overwhelms the mozzarella. I could go on and on…but this is not a rant, this is about a wonderful recipe that deserves its own post.

When my husband told me that he wanted to add polenta to a torta of cod, potato and porcini, I was not sold on the idea. Although polenta goes really well with cod and porcini, I wasn’t convinced that baking polenta would work.  I loved polenta when it is cooked into a porridge-like mixture or day-old polenta that can be sliced and sauted.  Baking it with other ingredients would be completely different.

Well, I was wrong.  Very wrong! The polenta added a rich flavor and helped solidify the torta, which was his intent.  Every ingredient came together beautifully. I’m dreaming about this as I work.

Needless to say, this is not a simple recipe. I’m writing this down not as an exact recipe to follow but for future reference so that he can easily reproduce it next time.   While the fish was steaming and potatoes were boiling, he started cooking the polenta but did not finish it in a pot. Instead, he later poured this “polenta water” into a pan over the steamed cod, boiled potatoes and porcini. There was a second step that involved polenta water infused with strained water from the dried porcini.


cod, porcini, russet potatoes, polenta, bay leaf, oregano, marjoram, pine nuts (optional), white wine, salt, pepper and parmigiano to melt on top at the end

Simple Recipe #2: Potato And Zucchini Torta

I’m including this as a simple recipe even though it does take time to make. I guess when I use the word ‘simple’, I mean that it’s hard to mess up the dish.  Taste will vary depending on the cook’s ability but to really mess it up would be difficult.   I would guess that it takes at least 20-25 minutes to prepare plus another 20 minutes of baking time.  This is also a good recipe for vegetarians or anyone who is trying to eat less meat.

My husband wanted me take the lead this time, although he hung around the kitchen to make sure the zucchini didn’t burn and he was the one that realized the potatoes were ready. I have a short attention span and often wander off!

Ingredients (for one large pie)

Zucchini (8-10)

Potatoes (4)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Cotija cheese

Eggs (2-3)

White Flour

Bread Crumbs, preferably Italian seasoning

Oregano and/or Marjoram


Pepper (optional)

1 ) Boil the potatoes.

2 ) While potatoes are boiling, slice and saute the zucchini in extra virgin olive oil, until lightly browned.

3 ) When the potatoes are done, take it out of the pot and peel.  It should be mushy enough to easily mash with a fork. Add in extra virgin olive oil and some salt.

4 ) Add in the zucchini and cheese.  Mix and taste.

5 ) Once the flavor is good, break in 2-3 eggs. Mix well. 

6 ) Through a sifter, add flour, just enough to coat most of the mixture. The more you add, the firmer the final torta will be so this is something that you can play around with. I prefer less flour rather than more.

7 ) Coat a deep baking pan with olive oil, including the sides (spreading with a finger). Drizzle bread crumbs all around including the sides of the pan.

8 ) Spoon in the entire mixture and make sure it spreads out evenly in the pan.

9 ) Add bread crumbs to the top, covering completely.

10 ) Bake at approx. 425 degrees for 20 minutes. Spritz with a mixture of water and olive oil during the baking process in order to keep the bread crumbs moist.

Let sit for another 10 minutes at least.

My husband wasn’t sure that I had added enough eggs or flour but I’m proud to say that the final result was delicious. We ate one slice each for dinner and have at least four more slices waiting for us today. Hopefully there will be a slice left for lunch on Monday.

Broccoli and Potato Torta

A few nights ago, my husband and I were so busy that we didn’t even start thinking about dinner until 7pm. After looking at our fridge, we decided to make a broccoli and potato torta.  As ‘prep chef’ of the household, I got things started while he finished working in the yard. I steamed the the broccoli, chopped the potatoes, and prepared a cannellini bean salad with red onions and fresh tomatoes from our garden. Then my husband came inside and took over the cooking.  See recipe for details.

We soon realized that the torta would not be ready until late and we were already hungry. Plus, tortas always taste better the next day. So he started making another dish for dinner — fusilli with ricotta forte and onions, a last minute favorite of ours. Our kitchen resembled a small restaurant with my husband sautéing onions while watching over the torta baking in the oven and pasta in the boiling water.

Despite our late start, we had a nice dinner in the backyard. Best of all, I had a slice of broccoli torta to go with the cannellini bean salad for lunch the next day.




2 Russet Potatoes


Bread crumbs (italian seasoning)

Mexican queso “cotija” cheese

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper



Steam the Broccoli. Sauté the potatoes in extra virgin olive oil until slightly crisp, adding a dash of salt, pepper, cayenne & paprika. Mix the steamed broccoli with the potatoes and add in 3-4 eggs. Mix into a large baking pan and then spread breadcrumbs on top. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 30 minutes.