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Spanish tortilla

Why Spanish Tortilla is Our Favorite Staple

In every town in every part of Spain we traveled last spring, there was always tortilla espanola, or Spanish tortilla.

There’s a very good reason for this. This little frittata-like dish is a delicious and satisfying food made from potatoes and eggs cooked in ample olive oil.

Enjoyed at all times of the day, Spanish tortilla {tortilla Espanola} is a main course, a snack, a sandwich. It’s wonderful on its own, as part of a tapas dinner or to grab and go.

Spanish tortilla

It quickly became our favorite. Especially after Spanish class when we were extra hungry.

What is a Spanish Tortilla?

Don’t get thrown by the name. It is nothing like the corn or flour tortillas we all know from south of the border.

Spanish tortilla is also not an omelet, other than that fact that it uses plenty of eggs. Potatoes are really the main element of a “tortilla,” sliced or cubed. {I like sliced.}

After they’re cooked, they’re bound with the egg and onion and cooked on the stove top in a pan that’s then flipped to cook both sides until golden brown.

As straightforward as that sounds, it was months after our trip before I attempted to make Spanish tortilla at home.

How To Make a Spanish Tortilla

It all starts with the right pan. Nothing fancy, but you want a 10-inch skillet that is non-stick. By that I mean one that you can use reliably for eggs.

I don’t own any non-stick cookware, but I have carbon steel pan that’s well seasoned and perfect for the job.

You’ll also need a dinner plate just larger than the pan’s diameter for flipping. Now, you’re ready! {And yes, you can do the flip. Just use hot pads.}

As I said, the potatoes are central. And there are lots of methods for cooking them. Some shortcuts even use potato chips.

The truth of the matter is that no two Spanish tortillas are identical. This recipe uses a shortcut for cooking the potatoes.

I use a shortcut method that I also use when making home fries: I bake or microwave the potatoes in advance. This cuts the cooking time in half!

After a couple of homemade Spanish tortillas, I wondered why I waited so long to make this superfood. Because it’s made from pantry ingredients, it’s perfect for anytime you’re really hungry.

How to Serve & Store

Once you slip the tortilla from the pan onto a plate, you cut into into wedges. It’s just as good warm, at room temperature or cold. And you can snack on the leftovers stored in the refrigerator for days.

Spaniards love to serve it on a slice of baguette. Or, eat it on a plate with a fork or straight out of your hand when you’re on the run but need something nourishing.

For all of these reasons, Spanish tortilla is a now staple in our house.

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Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla Espanola)

You just need four pantry ingredients to make a Spanish tortilla. While there are many variations, this recipe comes closest to our favorite style. It's thick like a frittata with sliced potatoes and onion. It makes great leftovers for lunch.

Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Keyword tortilla espanola
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Baking potatoes 40 minutes
Servings 8 people
Author Lynne Curry

Ingredients

  • 4 medium Russet potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 large eggs pastured
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley optional

Instructions

  1. Microwave or bake the potatoes until they are firm-tender. Let them cool slightly, peel and slice 1/4-inch thick and set aside. Have a plate that is slightly larger than the pan's diameter on hand.

  2. Meanwhile, heat 1/4 cup of the oil in an 9-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they soften and begin to turn golden brown, about 10 minutes.

  3. Whisk the eggs in a medium mixing bowl with the salt and pepper. When the onions are cooked, transfer them with a slotted spoon, draining them from the oil, and add them to the eggs.

  4. Add the remaining 1/4 cup oil to the pan over medium heat. Add half of the potato slices and fry until they are tender and are very lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to the egg mixture with the slotted spoon and continue cooking the remaining potatoes. Drain them from the oil and add them to the egg mixture. Combine the ingredients thoroughly and gently. (Some cooks like to let the mixture sit for about 15 minutes, so you can prepare the recipe up to this point in advance.)

  5. Remove all but 1/4 cup of the oil (enough to slick the pan) and return the pan to the stove top over medium heat. Pour in the egg mixture and cook until the edges begin to set, about 4 minutes. Give the pan a shake to make sure the tortilla isn't sticking, Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook until the tortilla is set along the edges, about 8 minutes. The center will still be liquid.

  6. Invert the tortilla onto the plate. Add additional oil to the pan and slide the tortilla back into the pan. Cook, uncovered, until the bottom is set, about 4 minutes more.

  7. Slide the tortilla onto a clean serving plate. Cut into wedges before warm or at room temperature sprinkled with the parsley, if using. Store leftovers wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes

If you start with raw potatoes, peel and slice them in advance. Increase the olive oil to 1 cup and cook the potato slices in batches until fork tender lightly golden brown, about 18 minutes per batch.

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