Monday, July 23, 2012

Tortilla Espanola: a simple Spanish treat

In 2002...wait, 2002 was 10 years ago, someone messed with my time machine...anyway, in 2002 I studied abroad in Spain. It was an all around eye-opener for me as I visited my first art museum, my first cathedral, got along speaking another language, travelled by myself for the first time, and fell madly in love with the place, a person, and of course, the food.

My unexpectedly hilarious roommate (whose wedding I just attended in New York) was a little nervous about her Spanish skills when we first arrived to take up residence in our homestay, a cozy 2-bedroom apartment with a spunky widow. The first question our host mother asked was, "what do you like to eat?" We'd been instructed to be sure to make it clear to our host families right away if we had any dietary restrictions. My roommate needed help telling her that she didn't eat seafood.

"No mariscos." Kacie said, possibly her first well-rehearsed phrase.

"No mariscos?" Balked our host mom.

"NO mariscos." She insisted, making the classic "no way" gesture with her her hands, palms faced down, crossing each other, then open.

Our host mom was slightly devastated, although throughout our stay, there was no shortage of good food. Paella, tuna and potato salads, and the ever important tortilla espanola.

This dish is ingrained in the fiber of the Spanish culture. It's found in every home, every restaurant, every cafe. Simple yet brilliant and extremely versatile, it is the definition of Spanish comfort food.

It has nothing to do with the tortillas we know today, so get that out of your mind. It is more like an omelet, and even more like a frittata.

It serves really well as an appetizer or potluck item, as you can cut it into squares or small pie slices to individualize. It doesn't need to be served warm either, room temperature is more typical anyway.

Tortilla Espanola
This recipe can also be seen on Foodie Friends Friday
serves 4 as a main course, 8-16 as an appetizer

2 russet potatoes, cut into thins rounds (like potato chips)
1 yellow onion, cut into thin rounds
1 clove garlic
2 TBL olive oil
6 eggs
1/4 half and half or milk
salt & pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet or non-stick pan over medium heat. Add potatoes, onion, and some salt & pepper and cook until soft, 10-15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, garlic, milk and more salt & pepper. Pour over potatoes and onion in the pan.

The next steps are up to you. The traditional way is to cook until the bottom is set (5-8 minutes), slide onto a plate, flip and cook until set all the way through, maybe another 5 minutes. For those of us who can't be bothered to flip, simply turn down the heat a hair or two, cover the pan and cook until set all the way through, about 10-12 minutes. It is better, taste wise, to flip but some days it just ain't happening, right? Enjoy!


  1. I love the story connect to this recipe. I can't believe 2002 was 10 years ago! Man...where did all the time go?

    I can't wait to try this recipe. It look so yummy!!!!

  2. THis looks so good! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday! Please come back on Sunday to VOTE!

  3. another blog i love! cant wait to try this!. we need to come up with that recipe of that tuna like thing Mayte made. I probably can't even describe what it tasted like! Miss you!!! xoxox

    1. I think the tuna thing was potatoes and olives and ? will have to work on that one. Miss you too!


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