Thursday, June 9, 2011

spanish tortilla


If there's one thing I love, it's comfort food done right. Since I was young, my mom's Spanish tortilla (or, as it's called in Spain, tortilla de patatas) has been one of my favorite dishes. It has three basic ingredients found in most kitchens: eggs, potatoes, and onion, making it an extremely cost-effective meal for a broke (and currently unemployed) college grad. It's delicious warm and cold, it's fairly easy to make, and although simple it's delicious. I've had my mom's, obviously, and when I went to Spain it was one of my favorite tapas to order. After craving it for awhile, I decided to take it upon myself to make my own version.

You will need:

  • 3 large Yukon gold potatoes
  • 5 eggs
  • 1/4 of a white onion
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Vegetable oil

Boil a pot of water, and once boiling put your potatoes in there until they are fully cooked, about 15-20 minutes depending on your stove. I don't really time it, but I do check it every five minutes or so by sticking a fork into the potato. You'll know when they're cooked because it'll slide in easily. I should note that traditional tortillas do not boil the potatoes first but rather cook them in the oil with the onion; I decided to try a different method!  

Note: Also, even though the recipe calls for three potatoes, I had bought four at the market and to save time I cooked all of them at once. I used the fourth to make some homefries the next day! 


Once they're done, let them cool. Be patient, as this takes awhile! I used the time to catch up on my reading; I'm currently in the middle of This Side of Paradise and I'm really enjoying it.


You can also be productive with your time and chop up your onion into small pieces :)


Peel your potatoes and cut them into thin slices, as shown above. You can also cut it into chunks (which is what my mom does!), it's up to you! 


Put some vegetable oil (I usually use Mazola) into a frying pan; I don't measure but I try to have enough to barely coat the bottom of the pan. You need a lot because you'll be frying the onions and then the potatoes in it. I would put it on medium high to heat up the oil, but make sure you're watching your onions carefully once you put them in, otherwise they'll burn! 


Once the onions have browned, put your potatoes in and fry them a bit. 


While your potatoes are frying, take the five eggs and whip them together! Add salt and pepper to taste.


Once your potatoes are done, remove them from the heat and pour them into your egg mixture. This is important so that your potatoes will end up evenly coated with egg. If you just poured the egg mixture into the pan, it wouldn't be evenly spread and would start cooking mess! Once your put the potatoes in the egg mixture, return your pan to the heat and add a tiny bit more oil. 


Stir them around until they are all evenly coated.


Next, pour your egg and potato mix back into the hot pan.


It should look like this at first. Watch it, and wait until the edges all look cooked. Once that occurs, you're going to do the hard part...


You're going to flip it! I was unable to get pictures of this, but it's fairly simple, as shown in this video tutorial. Make sure the edges are cooked, enough so that if you were to slide it out of the pan, it could still withhold its shape. Find a plate that is the size of your frying pan, and slide the tortilla onto it. Immediately (and carefully!) cover it with the frying pan, and then flip the plate so that the previously uncooked side is now on the griddle. For me, this is always the hardest part. Although I could bake it like a frittata, it's just not the same...the honor that goes along with flipping it is too glorious to give up! 


That side should cook fairly quickly, and once it's done just slide it onto a plate. I like to try to pat down the oil.


A cross-section is necessary; because we sliced the potatoes, they layer together really nicely and look really pretty!


Finally, make a meal of it! I enjoy eating it off of a fresh piece of bread, this is some sourdough from a local bakery. I also have goat cheese, some tomatoes, and in true Spanish fashion, a beer. 


  1. yum! come back to LA and cook for me

  2. That looks so good! Would it be ridiculous to add cheese to it? It looks like it would be really good with cheese, but maybe that'd just be too much and/or maybe that would be a sacrilege.

  3. I've had it with cheese on the side (my favorite is with Manchego), but never added cheese to the recipe should try it and let me know how it works out! I would probably add the cheese when you toss the potatoes with the egg mixture.