Tortilla Española - A Spanish classic! - Talking Tapas

Tortilla Española - A Spanish classic!

The name of this Spanish omelette, ‘tortilla’ actually means a small cake or tart, and really refers to the shape and depth of this delicious dish, which can be found in any Spanish restaurant or bar the length and breadth of the country! It is also the most common filling for a bocadillo (sandwich/ baguette), packed into hundreds of lunchboxes across Spain each day.

There are many variations of course, from the tortilla brava in Madrid, where they serve it with a spicy tomato sauce, to one made with peppers and chorizo. However, the best tortilla I ever tasted was that made by a Spanish friend of mine, Ana, in her home in Gijón in the North of Spain. Made in the more traditional way with just potatoes, onions and egg, the key is to take your time and not rush it. I have spent the last 10 or so years using her recipe and having fantastic results each time, so here it is!

Ingredientes (Serves 6-8 sliced up as a tapas dish, or cuts into 20 pincho squares as in the picture)        

  • 2 large potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 8 medium eggs
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Metódo (Main steps in the photo above to help!)

  1. Slice and dice the potato as small as you can, then do the same with the onion.
  2. Pour enough oil into a large and fairly deep frying pan to cover the bottom by about an inch and heat on a medium temperature.
  3. Once the oil is hot (but not too much, just enough for the mixture to gently sizzle) add the potato and the onion and fry gently and slowly in the oil, moving around from time to time, for about 10 minutes until soft but not brown (if it starts to catch or brown you need to turn down the temperature).
  4. Once soft, remove the potato and onion mixture to a separate bowl with a slotted spoon, draining off (and reserving) as much oil as you can, allow the mixture to cool a little.
  5. Pour the oil from the pan into a separate container, wipe the bottom of the pan with kitchen roll to remove any bits (this stops the tortilla from catching and sticking later), and then pour the oil back in.
  6. In a separate bowl beat the eggs together, add a large pinch of salt and a twist of pepper, then once the potato and onion mixture is cool add it to the egg and leave to stand for a few minutes.
  7. Warm the oil in the frying pan on a medium heat, then very gently pour in the egg, potato and onion mixture; making sure it is evenly spread out.
  8. Cook gently and slowly, until the edges and top of the tortilla start to set.
  9. Now come the tricky bit! Take a large plate or board, and carefully slide the tortilla out of the pan onto the plate, then place the frying pan upside down over the top, and holding both together firmly, turn quickly so that the tortilla end up back in the pan the other way up. (If you are worried about this you can always finish it under the grill instead!)
  10. Finish cooking the tortilla for another 3-4 minutes and then slide out onto a plate. At this point I tend to use some kitchen paper to blot away some of the excess oil from the top of the tortilla.
  11. Leave to cool and then slice and serve. It makes a delicious pincho (canapé) with a square of roasted pepper on the top as you can see in the picture, or just tuck right in!

¡Disfrútalo! (Enjoy!)

(Don't forget! If you fancy eating but not cooking this tortilla, why not join our next beginners Spanish course with tapas starting June 22nd! Click here for more details)