Genius Recipes

This Iconic Genius Recipe Is Your 2-Ingredient Power Snack (or Lunch or Dinner)

When everything else has run amok, this recipe will save you.

November 27, 2019
Photo by Rocky Luten

This is part of our Genius Recipes collection—a column founded by former Food52 Creative Director and lifelong recipe hunter Kristen Miglore intended to unearth recipes that will change the way you cook.

When you come up empty—you forgot a meal you’d need to feed people, or everything has careened off-schedule, or you just need fuel, now—this recipe will save you.


It demands almost nothing of you: two humble ingredients at its core, no advance prep, no tool more advanced than a skillet—and, for all this, oddly enough, you can thank the chef who invented culinary foam and spherified olives.

In 2003, Ferran Adrià was the force behind the world’s most innovative restaurant, El Bulli, in Roses, Spain. But this year marked one of his prouder moments: In his book Cocinar en Casa, he told us all to make a no-tech, five-minute meal out of potato chips and eggs. It was controversial at the time, but has since become one of the most iconic and repeated dishes of the last quarter century.

It was a reinvention of the classic Spanish tortilla española, replacing the long-simmered potatoes and onions lolling in olive oil with a snack food you don't have to cook at all.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“The tortilla made with the kettle-style chips was noticeably more dry and not tender even after gently reheating it. Guess what's for Sunday breakfast this morning?! Thanks for the great recipe.”
— Kiyom

“Galicians, who are the great tortilla de patata masters, Adrià notes, like their omelets with patatas a little bit crisp,” Anya Von Bremzen explains in The New Spanish Table. “To simulate the effect and eliminate the task of frying the potatoes, Adrià fills his tortilla with chips. Though this isn’t the kind of dish you’ll ever eat at El Bulli, the simple idea has become a great hit with Spanish home cooks.”

And now, without much record of Adrià continuing to promote it himself, it’s become one of those ideas that sticks—shocking and new enough to lodge in our brains, simple enough in template to recreate and to riff.

Food & Wine and Saveur published their own versions, adding a few flavorful doo-dads like pickled peppers and jamón, and further reducing the time and anxiety by broiling the top rather than attempting to flip the tortilla. Kenji López-Alt’s chips were salt and vinegar; José Andrés’ were a colorful mosaic of Terra.

To make your own, start by beating some eggs and throwing in a pile of chips. I like the flimsy grocery-store kind because they soften and meld into the tortilla better than thicker, kettle-style ones.

Polka-dot your mix with what you have lying around in the corners of your fridge—cured meats, pickles, leftover scraps of herbs—or don’t.

Cook it quickly; serve it warm soon or tepid later. Cut it in little squares with a dab of garlicked-up mayo if you want it to seem like a tapa (see above), or triangles on plates if you’re looking for something more forceful (see below).

But best of all, it’s a conversation starter to distract from everything else that’s run amok. In that spirit, here’s one last fun factoid: In Adrià’s later book The Family Meal, he includes instructions for making the tortilla in a menu with pork loin and pickled peppers, plus coconut macaroons for dessert—for up to 75 people.

I hope this helps you never come up empty again. And if even the grocery store seems too daunting right now—remember that gas stations sell chips.

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What's your favorite 2-ingredient meal? Let us know in the comments below!
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From our new podcast network, The Genius Recipe Tapes is lifelong Genius hunter Kristen Miglore’s 10-year-strong column in audio form, featuring all the uncut gems from the weekly column and video series. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don’t miss out.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I'm an ex-economist, lifelong-Californian who moved to New York to work in food media in 2007, before returning to the land of Dutch Crunch bread and tri-tip barbecues in 2020. Dodgy career choices aside, I can't help but apply the rational tendencies of my former life to things like: recipe tweaking, digging up obscure facts about pizza, and deciding how many pastries to put in my purse for "later."


Elaine January 5, 2020
Eight ingredients. Not two.
I’m pretty sure y’all can count to eight.
Mari January 5, 2020
Eggs and chips, that's two. Basic things (like pepper, oil, water, salt) are not normally included in the "count". The other ingredients are optional.
Kt4 January 5, 2020
Having a bad day Elaine? Getting rather snarky there.
Kiyom January 5, 2020
Made this twice, once with the thin Lays chips and the other with Maui kettle-style chips. Agree with Kristen! The thinner chips make for a more tender, melt in your mouth tortilla. This is true especially if you have leftovers. The tortilla made with the kettle-style chips was noticeably more dry and not tender even after gently reheating it. Guess what's for Sunday breakfast this morning?! Thanks for the great recipe.