How to make Spanish tortilla

by Lorraine Williamson
Spanish tortilla

With the winter months coming, comfort food always helps. Here at we give you the recipe for one of Spain´s most popular foods – the Spanish tortilla!

The tortilla is often eaten as a snack, in a sandwich, or in small pieces as a tapa. You can also eat it as the main dish of a meal. It is a highly versatile recipe that is present in all Spanish food scenes because you can make it at any time. Furthermore, you can adapt and personalise the ingredients.

The history of the Spanish tortilla

The most common origin theory begins with the general Tomás de Zumalacárregui. Legend has it that while he was visiting a house in the region of Navarra, the poor housekeeper had nothing to cook him a meal. Therefore, she had no option but to make something with the few ingredients she had. This happened to be eggs and potatoes.

Often, traditional dishes were born out of necessity, instead of thoughtful elaboration.

Perfect comfort food

This is a very simple dish that tastes delicious and is the perfect comfort food for a rainy day. 

Similar to pizza, varieties have been created based on regional tastes and creative chefs. Consequently, the Spanish tortilla has become a basic canvas to build on more complex and elaborated savours.

Many regions of Spain have their own recipe for this classic. You can add virtually any vegetable or protein to customise your tortilla experience and make it into a complete and delicious meal.

The main ingredients

It is simple, the main ingredients are potatoes, eggs, and olive oil (and sometimes onions)! But the secret is in the method. 

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The method

First of all, peel the potatoes, wash them, and cut them into small cubes or slivers. Then sprinkle with a little salt and cover them in olive oil and allow them to sit. This can be overnight. 

When you are ready, add the potatoes and oil to a small pan and cook for around 20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft. They may even break apart. That is OK. While the potatoes are cooking, crack some eggs into a bowl and whisk. Add a little salt. Then slice an onion as thin as possible and fry on a different pan. Once the onion is carmalised, drain off any excess oil and add to the egg mixture (you can reuse the oil later).

Remove the potatoes from the pan and drain the excess oil. Then add them to the egg mixture. Allow the combination to breathe for around 20 minutes. 

Add the mixture to the pan and allow to cook for around 20 minutes, turning often. To begin with, the mixture will be runny, so spend some time running a spatula around the outside allowing the liquid to run to the edges.

When the liquid has all gone, and you are sure the underside is all cooked, it is time to flip. There are two ways to do this – the fun way, or the safe way!

The fun way

Toss it like a pancake! Seriously, just flip it. It could be messy, but hey!

The safe way

Put a plate on top of your pan and turn it upside down. Then slide the tortilla back into the pan. Job done!

Also read: Tortilla – how do you eat yours?

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