A Simpler (No Flip!) Spanish Tortilla With an Even Simpler Aioli

February 20, 2018

This lightly edited excerpt and not-at-all edited recipe come from Jessica Battilana's cookbook Repertoire, out April 3 and available for pre-order (Little, Brown and Company, New York).

Spanish tortillas feature my desert-island duo—eggs and potatoes. They can be served warm or cold, and it’s a nice vehicle for a generous slather of aioli. Most recipes for tortillas suggest that you flip it midway through cooking—indeed, traditionalists will tell you that this step is part of what makes a tortilla a tortilla. But I’ve always found that step to be sort of high stakes and messy (as in, I’ve flipped one right onto the burner of the stove; the smell of charred egg haunting me for days), and the resulting tortilla is no better than the one I make using a different method.

I woke up like this (not flipped). Photo by Julia Gartland

When I make a tortilla, I cook it until it’s set on the bottom, then pop it under the broiler to brown and set the top. No flipping required. It may not be traditional, but you won’t care about tradition if your tortilla ends up on the floor, right? My nouveau technique requires you to use a pan that can go from stovetop to broiler.

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Now, for aioli: If you’re too pressed for time to do it, there’s no shame in gussying up some store-bought mayonnaise. I was raised in the church of Hellmann’s (called Best Foods out west), so that’s what I prefer. I enhance it with a squeeze of lemon juice and garlic paste (garlic pounded with a pinch of salt) to taste. You can add chopped herbs if you like, or some pesto, or a spoonful of harissa.

P.S. Leftover tortilla wedges make a great sandwich filling.

Tell us about the tortillas in your life, in the comments.

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Jessica Battilana

Written by: Jessica Battilana


Jessica W. February 20, 2018
I've been itching to try a tortilla for years now, but since I can't flip a regular omelette I put it off. No longer! The broiler idea is genius!
Julieek February 20, 2018
I never see Yukon Golds in the store. Would another potato work, e.g., butter potatoes?
Jessica B. February 20, 2018
Sure! I prefer a thin-skinned not-too-starchy potato, but you could even use russets.
AntoniaJames February 20, 2018
Julieek, standard whites or reds -- medium or smallish in size -- have the best starch level and cell structure for this purpose. They're what we used for years, before Yukon golds became ubiquitous. ;o)