Author Notes: Many times we overcomplicate. We think the more the better. And in food it's the same. But this recipe is a perfect example of how eggs and potatoes can make a dish that makes a whole nation scream 'tradition'!
The Tortilla de Patatas Española is the most traditional dish in Spain, made in literally every home and sold in every cafe, bar, mall or rest stop.
It's served either as a "tapa" (triangle piece served with a fork) or "pincho" (little cube served with a cocktail stick) or as a sandwich filling and eaten hot, cold or at room temperature!.
The Tortilla is made with 5 simple ingredients: eggs, potatoes, onion, olive oil and salt - nothing else.
And you may ask:
"Not even pepper?" - No.
"What about herbs! No parsley?" - Nope!
It's so simple yet, when made well and with a good olive oil, it's out of this world!
Nevertheless, Tortillas can be made with other ingredients. If you want to add a little something extra to your Tortilla, go ahead. This is a short list of ingredients that won't horrify a true Spaniard:
Spanish ham (Jamón), chorizo, canned tuna, shrimp or some vegetables/herbs like red peppers, a little minced garlic, rosemary, asparagus, courgette, aubergine, mushrooms and peas. But I beg of you, don't go wild, keep it simple - a couple of ingredients are best than the whole lot and ending up with a Tortilla that tastes of nothing in particular!
See at the end of the recipe how to add extra ingredients.
—Maria Teresa Jorge
potatoes large - Yukon Gold (or any other all-purpose potato)
onion medium - white or yellow
cup (220 ml) extra virgin olive oil (very good quality)
large eggs (medium in Europe)
- The 4 main points for a delicious Tortilla are: 1) A GOOD extra virgin olive oil is the key to a fabulous tasting Tortilla. 2) DO NOT WASH the potatoes - cut potatoes and cook them immediately. 3) POACH the potatoes, not fry - you want white cooked potatoes, not golden crisps. 4) A SMALL & DEEP skillet is a must - the higher the Tortilla the better because it keeps its moisture. It should be at least 1.5 inches (4cm) high.
- You need: 1 non-stick skillet (Omelette Pan) - no more than 8 inch (20cm) diameter / minimum 2 inch (5 cm) deep
- Warm olive oil in skillet over LOW heat.
- Peel potatoes and cut in four lengthwise. Slice each quarter thinly. Don't wash or dry the potatoes, leave them as they are.
- POACH (not fry) the sliced potatoes in the warm olive oil over low heat, nudging them once in awhile so they cook evenly. When potatoes start to look transparent, around 10 to 12 minutes, add the sliced onion and mix. Continue poaching over LOW heat for another 12 minutes or until potatoes are tender (but not falling apart).
- Add a pinch of salt, mix and drain the poached potatoes and onion on a colander over a heat proof bowl or pan and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Note: The drained Olive Oil is perfectly re-usable for cooking.
- Beat the eggs and season them with salt. Add the cooled drained potatoes/onion and mix.
- Put a skillet over medium/high heat and add a little olive oil from the drained oil (used to poach the potatoes). When the oil is medium/hot pour the egg and potato mixture in. Cook over medium/low heat, moving the skillet around so the egg and potatoes distribute evenly. With a spatula, tuck in the borders, rounding the sides of the Tortilla, to get the typical rounded shape of the sides.
- When the top is set, the bottom should be golden brown - more or less 3 to 4 minutes. Put a flat plate or flat pan lid on top of the skillet and, holding with both hands, invert the skillet over the plate or lid. Carefully slide the Tortilla back into the skillet to cook the other side, always on medium/low heat. Tuck in the sides again for that typical round look and cook another 3 to 4 minutes.
- Slide the Tortilla on a serving plate and serve in wedges or cut in cubes, either hot, cold or at room temperature.
- Tortilla keeps well for up to 1 day in fridge, covered with cling film.
- Enjoy with a glass of Sangria or a cold beer!
- Adding extra ingredients: The extra ingredients are added a couple of minutes before the end of cooking the potatoes and onion, depending on the cooking time of the ingredient. Say you want to add chorizo, pepper and a little rosemary. Cook the potatoes, then add the onion as per the recipe. Two minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the chorizo, preferably sheddred, so it's easier to cut the Tortilla. When you beat the eggs, add the pepper and rosemary to the eggs. When the potatoes have strained and cooled, add them to the eggs and proceed as normal. If the ingredient cooks quickly, sauté it with the potatoes the last minute, to mix the flavors. If it's a vegetable that needs more cooking time, pre-cook or roast it and add it to the eggs with the potatoes. Use your judgment!