Ten years ago back in a friend’s kitchen on the edge of Sevilla’s city center, I watched in earnest as a mutual friend of ours taught us all how to make one of Spain’s most traditional dishes: la tortilla española (tortilla de patatas). I had been enjoying my host mom’s recipe and a handful of pinchos at bars that whole semester but it wasn’t until less than a week before I left that I finally learned how to make it (and salmorejo). The mysterious “vuelta” (flip) and all!
Experiences like those I had during my study abroad semester are one of just a number of things I miss about the Spain of yesteryear before technology really took over (and I reminisce about it here). Being invited to a Spanish person’s house is still very much an honor and it isn’t something Spaniards extend to just anyone. Nevertheless, I cherish all of the times I’ve been invited over to someone’s house for lunch or dinner or a big family celebration like Easter or Reyes. One of the best ways to get an inside look at the culture is to tag along with a local and see how their family lives their lives and celebrates holidays or special occasions.
The Spanish omelet as it’s often referred to in English has become comfort food for me over the years. In general, it’s very easy to make and it’s the type of dish that will keep you full for a long, long time. It’s a perfect meal for lunch when you know dinner is going to be 6-7 hours later! (That used to be an extremely long wait for me back in the day)
But, you can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner – or even a snack with a beer! In the last year, I’ve been eating it for dinner about once a week and my husband has been ever so content with that change in our meals. Over the years, I’ve usually had it for breakfast or lunch and it is something I have made when I have a day when I was really missing Spain.
(There were a lot of those)
After spending all these years making this wonderful dish and basically enjoying hundreds of them to myself, I want to share my tried and true recipe with all of you. I hope you have a blast with the experience of making it and eating it! And remember, however it looks, trust me it will still taste delicious!
Tortilla Española Recipe
Makes 2-4 servings
- 1 medium-sized potato
- Several tablespoons of olive oil
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (mozzarella is my preferred choice)
1. Peel and cut a medium-sized potato into half-medallion-sized slices and fry them lightly in olive oil in a small sautée pan.
2. Beat 4 eggs and add salt or garlic to the mixture. (I usually add grated cheese.)
3. Once the potatoes are soft and have cooked to a golden brown color, pour them into the bowl with the egg mixture and stir.
4. Let the potatoes marinate in the egg and cheese mixture for around 15 minutes.
5. Add extra oil to the pan before dumping the bowl of potatoes, egg, and grated cheese into the saute pan.
6. Cook on one side until a bubbly foam develops on the edges of the tortilla.
7. Remove from heat and cover the pan with a plate or pot lid (if you need help flipping the tortilla onto another flat surface).
8. Take the covered pan over to your sink and flip the tortilla onto the plate (or pot lid). Be careful of the egg mixture and how it could slide around or drip off the plate.
9. After you transfer it to the plate, it should look something like this.
10. The pan should almost be dry so add some extra oil to it before sliding the tortilla back in. It’s a very crucial step to keep any of it from sticking.
11. Scrape any excess potatoes, cheese, or egg mixture into the underside of the tortilla as you slide it into the pan.
12. Cook the underside until the bubbly foam appears around the edges again. Take your spatula and use it to shape the sides of the tortilla into a perfect circle. Repeat until you reach your desired presentation.
13. Turn off heat and transfer to a separate, clean plate.
14. Cut into small slices, squares, or in half – whichever suits you or your dinner party best – and serve!
If you’ve ever been to Spain before and have had this delicious dish, you know it’s a staple item in a native Spaniard’s diet! There are so many different ways to make this amazing and deliciously filling recipe that I am even still learning new ways to perfect my skills and taste buds a decade later.
Have you tried making the famed tortilla de patatas before? Where did you learn and who taught you? How did making your first one go? I would love to hear your adventures in Spanish cooking in the comments below!