Spanish Tortilla

By • September 19, 2013 • 46 Comments

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Author Notes: With a recipe that contains little more than eggs, potatoes, and onions, you will find many different techniques applied to the preparation of each ingredient. Some call for shallow frying the potatoes in oil and using the oil to cook the tortilla. Some call for cooking the tortilla on the stovetop and flipping it several times while cooking, in order to firm it up and round the edges. I've done this and it produces a great tortilla but not everyone has two pans the same size or, understandably, the will to invert a steaming hot panful of eggs into another hot pan.

For the version I'm sharing here -- which you could call Spanish-ish Tortilla -- I took a nod from Italy and cooked the tortilla like a fritatta (I also added a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese). You can eat it hot, if you like, but it also makes for a great lunch or snack once it's cool.
Amanda Hesser

Serves 6

  • 2 pounds white or Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
  • Salt
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 8 eggs
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  1. Place the potatoes in a medium pot. Cover with water, season with about a tablespoon of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are just tender when prodded with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and let cool, then cut into 1/8-inch slices and put them in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Warm 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt, and cook until translucent and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Scrape the onions into the bowl with the potatoes.
  3. Lightly whisk the eggs until smooth, then add them to the potatoes and onions, and gently fold everything together. The potatoes should not be sticking together -- make sure the egg separates each slice. Season with salt and pepper and fold once more.
  4. Set a large nonstick or well-seasoned cast iron pan over medium high heat. Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and the butter. When the butter foams, pour in the potato-and-egg mixture and pat it down so it's even on the top. Sprinkle the cheese on top, let the eggs set around the edges, and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake until the eggs are almost set in the middle and the tortilla is browned around the edges, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on the stovetop. Run a thin spatula or knife around the edge of the tortilla to loosen it, then invert it onto a plate (this may be a 2-person job). If you'd like to serve the tortilla warm, invert it while it's still warm. Slice and serve. If you'd like to serve it with garlic mayonnaise, I won't argue.

Comments (46) Questions (0)

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about 1 month ago CheffieEmily

This makes me so happy. I just spent 10 days doing a culinary tour of Spain with fellow culinary students. We learned how to make this and consumed our fair share. It just makes me smile to stumble across this

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about 1 month ago German

I've been serving spanish tortilla in Baraka restaurant for quite some time now, with different variations. But what makes it SOOO special, is that we coat little pieces of potatos in olive oil, and then we bake them until crispy. The onions, on the other side, we sautee them until really tender, but not caramelized. We cool everything thoroughly. The pan should be oiled and smoking hot, and the potatos and onions already combined with the eggs and well seasoned. Toss into the pan, until a golden egg skin forms on the bottom (you'll have to guess this). And then, skills! Flip the tortilla, using a plate or a flat lid to help you transfer out, and then back in. If you like it babee, it'll take you like 3 more minutes on medium slow fire. This is how WE like it. Thank you for everything, I enjoy all of this so much.

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about 1 month ago German

oh, the potatos are little cubes, and the onions are sliced.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 month ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks so much for sharing your technique -- it sounds great!

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about 1 month ago mboerner

What should have been explained is that "tortilla" is the Spanish word in Spain for an omelet. Spanish-speaking Americans use the word "tortilla" for the cornmeal dish that Americans know. "Frittata" is the Italian word for such an omelet.

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about 1 month ago Laurie

Does one layer with the tortillas? I'm confused.

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about 1 month ago Laurie

Tortillas are not in the ingredient list and barely mentioned in the recipe. I'm assuming one puts the cooked potato, egg mixture in a tortilla.

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about 1 month ago mboerner

No. What should have been explained is that "tortilla" is the Spanish word in Spain for an omelet. South Americans used it for another dish.

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about 1 month ago mboerner

Fritta is the Italian word for such an omelet.

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about 1 month ago gualiwood

NIce frittata...

Mug

about 1 month ago Ileana Morales | a little saffron

Do you think I can double this and cook in a big 13-inch cast iron skillet? Trying to feed 12 people for brunch.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 month ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

If you double it in an 13-inch pan, it will be quite thick. I'd either do 10-inch pans or a 13-inch and an 8-inch. I hope this is helpful!

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about 1 month ago Gus'Mom

I as wondering what size pan to use? I apologize if it is mentioned somewhere but I missed it.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

about 1 month ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I only said large but wasn't specific about the diameter. I'd aim for a 10-inch pan.

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about 1 month ago Mikey Fernández

Spaniard here. I don't really get the comment from "Pokolik". First up, there are as many ways of cooking a tortilla de patatas as families are in Spain. For example, my mother doesn't boil the potatoes, she fries them with onion and green pepper, (she even adds some chorizo). But my best friends boils it, and so on...

The fact that the recipe calls for an oven bake instead of frying in the pan, makes a lot of sense, because it is easier & less complicated than turning the tortilla with the help of a plate...

The fact is that this tortilla looks DELISH... and it is great to see so many people from other countries doing their own version.

:)

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about 1 month ago mboerner

To my mind, forthright criticism is the best way to go. Ir we demand others be "constructive" and "polite," then we fail to read the real truth.

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3 months ago Pamela Katch

I made a "frittata style tortilla" this morning and *steamed* the potatoes after slicing them instead of boiling before slicing. It was very quick and a nice trick if you need to save a little time, or are addicted to your steamer.

Stringio

3 months ago Maria MM

Oh Goodness...

I am also a Spaniard and I do believe that even though your Tortilla is not done the traditional way for us, it is perfectly valid. Moreover as with any "traditional" dish there are a hundreds of ways to actually bake it. Almost every family in Spain has a different way to do it! Mine, for instance, does differ from the one posted here. The frittata way is, for one thing, a much easier way to bake the eggs without the trouble of turning the tortilla over and over again. Also, the probable advantage, I would say, that our traditional way has vs. a frittata is the softness of the egg, but that softness is lost if you do not eat it right way. So, again, I would say this is perfectly valid and more so if you want to take it for a picnic or eat it later on. If any of you want to know other ways to do it, I would be delighted to share! :)

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5 months ago Gelfo

Do you think this would work with Sweet Potatoes? I was thinking specifically about White Japanese sweet potatoes or Purple Sweet Potatoes, both of which are denser and less moist than orange sweet potatoes. The picture looked so great, I thought it might be an interesting addition to Thanksgiving.

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

5 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

I'm not sure -- the sweetness might be a little odd with the eggs. But why not try it (or do a mini version in advance to be sure). If you do make it, please let us know how it turns out!

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7 months ago Sharon Bond

I made this today for me and my husband (leftovers -- yay!) and we really enjoyed it. One thing I appreciated about this recipe was that it was mostly hands-off, so I could let the potatoes cook, set the timer, then come back and do the next step.

Also, since it is served warm, I didn't have to worry about getting it on the table immediately, which was a good thing for us today.

My one (tiny) quibble was that the finished dish, which came out of the pan perfectly, looked a tad ... bland on the platter. At the last second, I chopped up a couple small tomatoes from my garden and scattered them over the top to add a bit of color. It turns out they also added a touch of nice flavor, too! I will definitely make this again, but would want to add something for contrast -- parsley, maybe? Or would that make this stray too far into the territory of being a fritatta vs. a tortilla?

Tad_and_amanda_in_the_kitchen

7 months ago Amanda Hesser

Amanda is a co-founder of Food52.

You can add any green herb you like. Penelope Casas adds all sorts of things to frittata -- for instance, ham and mint -- so if parsley appeals to you, that sounds like a great option.

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7 months ago sexyLAMBCHOPx

Is a mandolin the best choice for 1/8 slices or will decent knife skills suffice?

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7 months ago Evan McGinnis

You can boil the potatoes whole and then once they're tender and cooled you'll easily be able to cut with a knife. Cute dog btw!

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7 months ago Sharon Bond

If you are slicing them after they've cooked, I think a knife is better. I think they'd tend to fall apart in a mandoline. If you are slicing the potatoes raw, definitely use a mandoline -- those suckers make quick work of spuds!

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7 months ago Evan McGinnis

I just got done making and eating a slice of this. Yowza. It can easily feed 12 people [along with a side salad to be satiated] as I was able to divide it into 12 good sized pieces and added some gorgonzola and mozzarella to the mix. An easy dish to add whatever else you'd want such as zucchini and garlic as mentioned below.

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7 months ago Cheryl Andreozzi

I just cooked this for dinner tonight. It's a great weekday meal. Cook the potatoes in the morning and your half way there. Delicious!

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7 months ago hannah

Authentic or not, I made this last night, added some zucchini and garlic in with the onions, and with a green salad it was an absolutely wonderful dinner for two. The leftover slice I brought to work today was even better. Cheers!

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7 months ago rpepper

Tried this tonight and it was excellent. Thanks for this version; it's a keeper. I was running late and cooked the potatoes for 6 minutes in the pressure cooker, then ran them under cold water, peeled them, and sliced them.

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7 months ago Catharren

I don't recall ever eating a tortilla with any cheese in it. The Spanish use olive oil and the taste is not the wame if you use vegetable oil