Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tortilla Espanola

This is an ode to my sister, Elise. She's been on my mind this weekend as she moved to Chicago, ready to start medical school next week. I'm so proud! Anyway, she studied for a year in Spain while she was in college and so thus, Spanish food now reminds me of her.

Tortilla Espanola (or a Spanish Tortilla), is actually like a large potato omelet. It's one of the most common tapas dishes (or "little plates") that are such a part of the cuisine of Spain. I don't know how authentic my tortilla is, but it's versatile, economical and a dish that is appropriate for any time of day.

Tortilla Espanola
3-4 medium potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 cup water
6 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
non stick cooking spray
sliced green onions for garnish (optional)

Season potato slices with salt and pepper.

In a heavy skillet over medium high heat, saute onions in one tablespoon of the olive oil until translucent (2-3 minutes) stirring frequently.

Stir the onions into the potato slices. Add one more tablespoon of the olive oil to the skillet and return the potato and onion mixture to the skillet. Add water and cover with a lid. Allow the potatoes to cook for a few minutes until they are almost tender (about five minutes). Remove lid and flatten mixture with a spatula.

Whisk together eggs, garlic powder and additional salt and pepper. Pour egg mixture over top of potatoes and move skillet around to allow the eggs to soak through to the bottom of the pan.

Allow bottom to brown (the sides will start to set quickly and you can use the spatula to lift and peek) for a couple of minutes. Then, cover again, lower heat and allow to cook through until eggs are set.

Once eggs are set, use a large plate to cover the skillet. Invert onto the plate (it might look a little bit ugly, you can use your spatula to repair it and flatten again). Wipe out the skillet, spray with non stick spray and heat the remaining olive oil over high heat, swirling to cover the bottom of the skillet.

Slide the tortilla back into the skillet and fry the bottom side to golden brown. Once the bottom is browned, once again place a large plate over the skillet and invert. Tortilla can be sliced into wedges like a pie or cut into bite sized pieces. It can also be served warm, at room temperature or even cold. Garnish with green onions.


  1. My host mom, Julia, said that the key to making a good tortilla espaƱola is to have a skillet that you use only for the tortillas, so that they don't stick. Luke and Alton Brown would dismiss that as a "unitasker", but I love my tortilla pan nevertheless. Julia also sometimes cooks her potatoes in the microwave with a higher water:oil ratio to make it faster and less greasy, but I love the full-oil version. Cut it into triangles and serve it on a baguette with some manchego cheese, and you have quite "el bocadillo".

  2. Looks tasty! I think this is dinner tonight. Thanks for the idea!

    Jenn P

  3. Help me! How to I make the little squiggly tilde (sp?) over my n? Remember my lack of technology skills???

  4. p.s. Elise, thanks so much for your expert input. I love it!

  5. Whenever I need to find an n with a tilde (or an accented letter), I just search google for "espanol" (or "accented letters") and copy and paste it from the first applicable page. Not too efficient, but it does the trick if you only need one or two accented characters...