Lamb Tortilla Sacromonte
One of the most fascinating recipes for lamb and goat on this site, the Tortilla Sacromonte is a very traditional, well-loved dish from Spain and Grenada steeped in myth and history.
Accounts seem to vary, but the most common version of the story retelling the origins of the dish I can find describes a tradition where the monastary of Sacromonte invited the bishop to dine with them during the feast of the patron saint of Sacromonte, who was the patron saint of the town. One year, the meat was stolen for the dinner, so the cook took the parts of the animal the thieves left behind, namely testicles and brains, and made an omelet with them for the annual dinner. The rest, is history, and to this day, the tortilla Sacromonte is a beloved, and reasonably famous local dish.
Like other tortillas in the region, the tortilla Sacromonte is basically what we might call a frittata in the Unites States: a small cake of different ingredients bound with egg.
Like the origins of the dish itself, the ingredients for the tortilla Sacromonte seem to vary a bit, but brains and testicles (or testicles and sweetbreads-a common substitute for brains) are always used. Potatoes, onions, peppers, ham, nuts and breadcrumbs and herbs might also be used.
Even if you don’t make it, I think just knowing that interesting traditional uses of offal like this exist around the world is a fascinating thing, since, as a chef, I’ve made my share of interesting foods, especially with organ meats, but I would have never thought to combine lamb fries and brains into a meal.
The combination of the two ingredients together in the dish works surprisingly well though. Both testicles and brains are white, tender, and relatively mild tasting, especially when cooked alongside other ingredients like potatoes and peppers. Add a little hot sauce at the table, and you might be surprised how many people won’t even know what they’re eating. Testicles are more difficult to cook than brains. If you’re new to them, please read How to Cook Rocky Mountain Oysters.
This recipe is by Chef Alan Bergo, the Forager Chef. A chef from Minnesota, Alan is a culinary industry veteran, former executive chef of acclaimed Lucia’s Restaurant, and the Salt Cellar. Author of The Forager Chef’s Book of Flora, he’s one of the most respected voices in the world of foraging and wild food. He’s best known as the founder of Forager Chef, his website focused on wild ingredients that reaches millions of readers each year. Learn more about Chef Alan and his hunt for mushrooms, wild and obscure foods at foragerchef.com.
Looking to buy lamb or goat online? Shepherd Song Farm: Grass to table. We raise lambs & goats traditionally, humanely and sustainably. 100% Grass Fed, Pasture Raised, Never Confined, no Hormones, Grains or Animal Byproducts. Born, raised and processed in the U.S.A. Good for you and good for the environment.
Lamb Tortilla Sacromonte
- 1 oz lamb brains 1 each
- 1 oz lamb testicles 1 large
- 2 oz 1/2 cup bell pepper, any color but green, diced ½ inch
- 2 oz 1/2 cup russet potatoes, peeled and diced ½ inch
- 2 oz 1/2 cup Lamb or pork ham, or sausage diced ½ inch or crumbled (optional)
- Fresh chopped parsley and tarragon to taste, a generous tablespoon (optional)
- 2 Tablespoons lard or bone marrow
- ½ teaspoon 1/2 one small clove garlic, finely minced
- 3 Tablespoons cooking oil
- ¼ cup cream
- Kosher salt to taste
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 dried bay leaves
Lamb fries and brains
- Peel the testicle of its outer membrane.
- Soak the brains and testicles overnight in 1 qt of water whisked with 2 Tablespoons of salt.
- The next day, bring the wine to a simmer with the bay leaves, add the testicles and brains and simmer for 10 minutes, then allow to cool in the liquid while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Remove the testicle and peel the second inner membrane, then dice the brains and testicles ½ inch and reserve. From here, the testicles and brains can be prepared ahead of time up to 24 hours.
- Simmer the potatoes in lightly salted water until tender and reserve. Preheat the oven to 325. Beat the eggs and cream and herbs with a pinch of salt and pepper.
Assembling the tortilla
- In a ten inch non-stick saute pan or cast iron skillet. Sweat the peppers, potatoes and ham or sausage if using until soft, about 5 minutes, add the brains and testicles, season the mixture with salt and pepper and cook on medium heat for a minute or two more.
- Add the egg mixture, stir to combine, transfer to the oven and cook for 10 minutes, then remove, shake the pan a bit to make sure the egg mixture moves as one—it should look nearly cooked, and slide freely in the pan.
- Put a plate on top of the pan and invert, then slide the tortilla back into the pan to cook and gently brown the other side.
- It’s important to lightly brown both sides to help the tortilla hold it’s shape after cooking.
- When the other side is done, transfer the tortilla to a serving plate, cool for a minute or two, then cut into wedges and serve.
- It’s excellent with a bit of hot sauce, with a green salad, and can be served hot or at room temperature.