Spanish Tortilla

It’s breakfast. It’s lunch. It’s dinner.

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August 04, 2020

Prep: 10min

Cook: 45min

Serves: 2 - 3

The gist.

Also referred to as a Spanish omelette, this egg and potato dish pairs wonderfully with a side salad of bitter greens, tomatoes, and a sweet vinaigrette.

In 2014, a chef in Spain used over two tons of eggs and potatoes in an attempt to cook the world’s largest Spanish tortilla. Today, you’ll scale things down a bit and use a mere six eggs to produce a cozy, plate-sized Spanish tortilla you can call your own.

My brain splits a million ways during the last few minutes of cooking a hot meal. I think about how I will plate the food, in which order the food should be plated, if the table is set and ready, if the drinks are poured, if the cold components are arranged and served, etc. Cooking a Spanish omelette is different. Since you (generally) eat it warm or at room temperature, those last few minutes of cooking go from being stressful to blissful. And there’s nothing you can do about it.

I first saw a Spanish tortilla in a photograph in one of my Mediterranean recipe books. I cooked it and loved it. Later that year I traveled to Spain and couchsurfed at a woman's house who coincidentally was cooking tortillas with her friends for a party that night. I remember looking at a table full of tortillas, seeing that each one was noticeably different than the rest. Some were quite oily, some had more potato than egg, some were thick, some were thin, and one was wrapped in foil (huh?). To make things worse, everyone kept feeding me contradicting tips on how to make the best tortilla. Long story short, there are many correct ways of preparing a tortilla. And that’s good news indeed, for you and for me.

With that being said, here are a few tips based on my experience. Number one, don’t lose your patience during the half hour you are cooking the potatoes and onion. Oh boy, speaking of onion, it’s time for another sidenote. To include or not to include onion in a tortilla is a highly disputed matter among Spanish tortilla makers. I add the onion, but I won’t shame you for leaving it out. Anyway, patience is needed. You need to be fairly active during the 30 minutes of cooking the potatoes and onions or else something will burn and the potatoes will not cook evenly.

Flipping the tortilla can be a bit awkward at first. I speak from experience(s). I find that speed is my best friend during the process. When sliding the tortilla out of the pan and on to a plate, a slow slide could result in a dismembered, half-cooked tortilla. It happens. So be confident and make the transition quick. The same principle applies to when you actually flip the plate-tortilla-skillet sandwich. Rotate too leisurely and your tortilla might transform into a strange shape inside the pan. At the same time, be careful! You are grabbing a hot metal pan, and metal pans and glass plates are essentially frictionless; don’t let one slide out from the other!

Use your best judgement on when the tortilla is done. It’s a bit ugly to dig into the middle of your tortilla with a knife to test for doneness, but it might be worth it the first few times in order to gauge how long it needs to be cooked. And remember, no need to “serve immediately.” This one is best warm or at room temp.

Ingredients

Steps

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Spanish Tortilla

  • Prep time: 10min
  • Cook time: 45min
  • Serving size: 2 - 3
Also referred to as a Spanish omelette, this egg and potato dish pairs wonderfully with a side salad of bitter greens, tomatoes, and a sweet vinaigrette.

INGREDIENTS

  • 500 g (1 lb) Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 60 mL (1/4 cup) vegetable oil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

STEPS

  1. Peel the potatoes and slice into 5 mm (1/4 inch) rounds.

  2. Peel and dice the onion.

  3. Chop the parsley.

  4. Crush and mince the garlic with either a knife or a garlic press.

  5. Heat a medium (~23cm / 9in) non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the oil once the pan is hot.

  6. Add the onion to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  7. Add the potatoes and 1/4 tsp salt and reduce the heat to medium-low.

  8. Frequently stir the potatoes and onion and cook between 25-30 minutes, or until the potato rounds are cooked through.

  9. Add the garlic to the pan and stir for about 30 seconds.

  10. Remove the pan from heat.

  11. In a clean bowl, add the eggs and briefly beat.

  12. Stir in the potato/onion mixture, parsley, 1/4 tsp salt, and black pepper and stir until combined.

  13. Put the skillet on the stove over medium heat and add enough oil to coat the bottom.

  14. Pour the bowl of egg mixture into the pan and let cook between 5-6 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to occasionally lift and check the bottom of the tortilla.

  15. Once the bottom of the tortilla is browned (the top surface of the tortilla may still be quite runny), use a spatula to quickly and gently slide the entire tortilla to a clean heatproof plate that has a diameter larger than the pan.

  16. Flip the skillet upside down and place on top of the tortilla on the plate. Using hotpads, grab the skillet and plate (with the tortilla inside) like you would a sandwich and quickly flip the entire unit so that the plate is now on top.

  17. Return the pan to the stovetop and cook for another 4-5 minutes until the bottom is browned and the tortilla is cooked through.

  18. Remove the tortilla from the pan and allow to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.

  19. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

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