#50 tortilla española

Think of it as an elaborate omelette that will most certainly fill you up with goodness!  The term ‘omelette’ is loosely applied to many kinds of egg dishes, but there are officially four basic types: French, firm, flat, & souffléd.  This Spanish-style omelette is made with eggs and potatoes, onions or chives, and fried in olive oil. It is often served cold as an appetizer and has become a staple of the cuisine of Spain and many South American countries.  Not to be confused with the delicious maize flatbread called tortilla, this particular tortilla – diminutive of torta, which means small torte/cake – has the prefix española to distinguish it.  This egg-based dish falls into the family of frittatas, omelettes, & quiche.

Although I can’t boast on the success of my particular tortilla española, I nonetheless encourage you all to try it!  Aside from the less-than-wonderful smell coming from my kitchen and the slightly undercooked potatoes, it was a good fulfilling dinner!  The essential ingredients are potatoes, eggs, and onion, but other ingredients such as peppers, chorizo, tuna, shrimp or vegetables can also be added – although this alters the Spanish government food website, which specifies strictly that a true tortilla española consists of potatoes, eggs, onions, and olive oil.  It may be eaten hot or cold; and is commonly served as a tapa, cut into bite-size pieces on cocktail sticks.

For the Omelette

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1 pound (450g) of sliced potatoes
  • 6 large eggs

Heat a large 12-inch skillet over medium heat and add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Add the finely chopped onion and salt & pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring, until the onion is soft and golden.  Remove to a large bowl.  Return the skillet to the stove and add the other portion of olive oil: 1/4 cup.  Add the (preferably red-skinned) potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch slices and cook until golden brown.  This takes a while!  Remove the potatoes to paper towels drain.  Set the pan aside with the oil in it.

Add the eggs to the bowl with the onions and salt to taste.  Sprinkle the potatoes with salt & pepper and add to the egg mixture.  Toss to coat the slices well with the egg.  Return the skillet to high heat and heat the oil remaining in the pan.  When it is hot, add the egg mixture and immediately reduce the heat to low.  Let the omelette cook, and cover loosely with a lid.  Shake the pan from time to time to make sure it doesn’t stick.  If it does, just slide a spatula under it to loosen it.

When done, place a serving plate over the omelette pan top-side-down and flip the tortilla española onto the plate.  Cut into wedges and serve hot or at room temperature.


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