Exploring global food and food culture

Tortilla Espanola

Tortilla Espanola

The first time my wife made tortilla espanola (I know, I was confused too; it doesn’t look like a tortilla; I usually just call it a Spanish omelette) for me, when we were attempting one of our tapas meals for some friends, I was skeptical. Part of it was this idea that you would cook these thin slices of potato to just the right point in a pan, and then add your beaten eggs at just the right moment. The results were always less than what I imagined. Which is no slight on my wife, as she’s an amazing cook. I just thought the entire technique was suspect. So, for you, my dear reader, I submit what I believe to be a superior elaboration on the same basic concept.

The technique:

The key here is to peel and slice the potatoes very thin, almost in slivers, and then fry them in a nonstick pan (this is pretty important) with a little olive oil until they’re good and browned.

Like so:

tortilla espanola


When the potatoes were browned a little bit, I opted to add some zucchini slices.


tortilla espanola


When this was all good and browned, I added two beaten eggs.  I let them firm up, cooking them for about 3 or 4 minutes, and then flipped them (this is why the nonstick pan is so important) and cooked them for another 2 or 3 minutes.  Then it’s just a matter of plating up and eating.

Cutting the potatoes into such small slices allows you to cook them more thoroughly before you add the eggs, making for a more consistent result.  No bites of half-cooked potato with undercooked egg.

The ingredients:

  • 2 small potatoes, sliced and cut into slivers
  • 1/4 zucchini, cut into slivers
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

And that’s really it.  Again, it’s the simplicity of it that makes it so good.  Try it and let me know what you think.

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