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My parents made these all the time and we in turn make them for our children and grandchildren. My father, who came here from Spain, added chorizos to his. I’ve often added German sausage, Italian sausage and virtually any left over meat in the fridge. You may also try your favorite cheese as a topper.
My French mother in law makes this same dish and it is superb! All this time I thought this was a Gaelic treat, now, I know the truth!
I was raised in Uruguay SA until I was 11. One of my favorite dishes we ate regularly was tortilla. It was a great family favorite. It was prepared in a frying pan with eggs, potatos, salame and bell peppers.
My question is about the pronouncation of the word. I was told it was torti-ja. Although it was spelled tortilla. My boyfriend is from spain and he says its tortilla. (like the mexican flat bread) I told him the correct way to say it is with the j sound. I know there is no J sound in spanish but that is how we have learned to call it.
Hi Carina, I don’t know about Uruguay, but in Arjentina, they pronounce “yo” as “jo”, so perhaps it’s just the dialect where you are from. ~Elise
I studied in Valencia and lived with 3 buddies in an apartment with a landlady and cook/maid named Emerenciana. Tortilla to us was much like paella – there was a standard recipe, but optional ingredients sometimes. Emerin used whatever she had on hand, although the basic resipe was “sacred”. Once, when we were headed for the beach, she made a tortilla with potatoes, onion, chorizo and red bell peppers. She sliced open a large round loaf of crusty bread, hollowed it out, brushed the inside with olive oil (lots!! She put olive oil on everything), place the tortilla inside, wrapped it in a towel, placed it in a box with a weight on top. She added some jamon serrano (ham) to the box, and a chunk of cheese. The loaf compressed a bit, like a panini, but was that lunch speccial! We sliced into wedges and ate it with the ham and cheese and a local wine. It’s been years, and I have since married and lived in Italy (fritatta), but the family still loves this Spanish tortilla and frequently make into the loaf and serve in wedges. We’re doing it tomorrow for Superbowl Sunday!
I’m from Spain, and as every spanish says “my mother does the best tortilla de patatas of the world”
In my house we use to cook the tortilla with diced zucchini (calabacín)and onion. We only use one big onion, regardless of the number of guests.
The onion is slug, so it’s more tender. the variety is called Figueres onion.
fistable we fry the potatos (not too much oil),
we take them off the pan
we chop the onions and the zucchini and we poach it in the same oil.
then we put all toghether (vegs and potatoes).
the last thing is beat the eggs (one or one and a half per person)with a bit of salt, put them in the hot pan and stir a bit. Leave to set, flip with a plate and wait a few minutes (2-5 minutes).
To tell you the truth I can’t give you an exacly formula, the only thing that you must consider is that the vegetables must be covered by the egg.
As someone has comment you can use the vegetables or ingredients you prefer, but you must keep the egg and the potatoes!!
Hi Elise! So good to see tortilla here. I’m from Bilbao (northern Spain) and this was one of our staple meals growing up. It still is in my family as I cook it at least once a week, trying different variations. Traditionally, like other commenters suggest, tortilla is made with diced potatoes and usually has onions and green peppers. the potatoes are slowly cooked in a lot of olive oil then drained, mixed with eggs in a bowl and cooked in the pan with the flipping method. It’s best to use a non-stick skillet for this. Anyhow, this looks wonderful and it’s amazing how a few simple ingredients can taste so wonderful. Thanks!
Made this today for dinner. Delicious. I just did a few changes. I cut the potatoes to small cubes and cooked them in one tablespoon of olive oil then added the green onions plus I added diced mushrooms and turkey sausage. Yummy!
Another Spaniard here. My method for Tortilla Española is the flipping one. Broiling just doesn’t get the same taste, in my opinion.
I also agree with more potatoes and less eggs (500 grams thinly sliced potatoes, 1 medium onion thinly chopped, 4 eggs for me – 4 servings). I always sort of mash the potatoes while cooking the first time with the onion. In order to use less oil (2-3 tbsp), I add a couple tablespoons of water and put a lid on (repeat as needed). Then add the potato-onion mix to the beaten & seasoned eggs and rest a couple minutes while the pan gets the right temperature. During the first minutes of cooking the actual tortilla I’ll stir around (sort of like scrambling eggs) so the center is cooked. Then let the bottom set, turn & finish cooking.
Normally I’ll serve the tortilla with a salad (mix of lettuces, tomatoes, cucumber, carrot… whatever you fancy), and a dollop of mayonnaise.
I made “personal pan” tortillas this morning, using my small 6″ cast iron pan. It took 2 eggs and 1 small potato and a smidgen of onion (yes, that’s a measurement in my house!). When diced into small pieces, it was just enough to cover the bottom of my small pan.
Fried everything until potatoes were soft (which didn’t take long, since I diced everything small) and then added the potatoes/onion mixture to the eggs and gave it a stir before adding everything back to the frying pan.
I hoped I could flip it with a spatula, like when I fry eggs, but the mixture was not stable enough so I used the “plate method” of flipping. Let it cook a couple minutes before plating. The perfect amount for one person. ;-) Kids loved it too though next time, I’ve got to watch the garlic – it started to scorch in the 2nd cooking.
I’ve lived in Spain for school and later for work, and tortilla espanola has been one of my all time favorites from day one!
When I make it I add capers (soooo good; the saltiness is great)! Also, I mix everything in a bowl first and let the potato mixture soak in the eggs for about 15 minutes before cooking everything together.
I’m from Puerto Rico and I make my Tortilla in many different ways, that’s a dish that you can let your imagination go wild. It’s very easy to make. I sometimes make it like a Lasagna style with cheese,ham, onions, sausage, what ever you want to use in it. I put it in a pan covered and do one side and then I turn it over, turning it over can be a little tricky I usually use a plate and oven mitts, I put the plate over the Pan and turn the tortilla unto the plate and then slide it into the pan and cook the other side.I also do one like Pizza style and cut it in slices. It can be served cold or warm. A very simple and great dish. Thanks Spain.
Hey, This Spanish omelet is very similar to Indian thick omelet with vegetables. We generally pan fry the veggies (mostly potato and onion) instead of frying them. Here is the tortilla espanola, I made couple of weeks ago. I used that on sandwich and also made a delicious appetizer out of it. Check out the link.
I thought I’d share my rather amusing story of cooking tortillas at 5:30 this morning in anticipation for a get-together this evening: It is really hard to flip this bad boy if you’re any of the following: not buff, afraid to dump the tortilla on the floor so don’t have complete resolve, have a pan handle that gets hot (what’s up with that!), etc. etc. etc. I made a few tortillas and after the first one made kind of a mess flipping and all sorts of interesting words popped out of my mouth, I had to have my husband do it for me. But, they turned out very nicely and are exactly like what I remember. Also a non-stick pan is really helpful to get the tortilla to slide right out AND it still browned nicely. But generally non-stick isn’t oven-safe, so then you have to deal with flipping problems as listed above.I need to up the ante on the bicep curls.
Now you see why I like the oven! ;-) ~Elise
Tortilla is a diminutive form for torta, which is a generic name for a dough or batter cooked in a circular shape.
In different countries the usage of tortilla has specialized: flat corn or flour cakes in Mexico, an omelette here in Venezuela, an egg and potato appetizer in Spain.
Another diminutive form of torta is tortica, which we use for fritters: torticas de arroz, torticas de espinaca, torticas de pescado (rice, spinach and fish fritters).
This looks great! Does anyone know if leftovers of this dish would be good? I don’t think my husband and I could eat the whole thing in one sitting, but I’m always a little cautious about refrigerating egg dishes, as sometimes they can be kind of gross.
Also, how can I add some veggies to this dish? With the egg? Or with the potatoes??
Hi Ophelia, the Spanish tortilla is great for leftovers. You might want to look at some of the other comments to see which vegetables others like to add to the dish. I would just layer them in with the potatoes, but I’m guessing you can add them any which way you like. ~Elise
I’ve been looking forward to making aSpanish tortilla since returning from three week in Barcelona, the Pyrenees, and north coast. We frequently enjoyed this dish as tapas or breakfast . This recipe is an easy rendition that I am so happy to find. I added sautéed garlic, yellow pepper and some cheeses between the papas and eggs. Am just waiting for it to cool!
I made two individual size Spanish Tortillas last night for dinner along with some roasted asparagus and kielbasa, it was SO good!!! I was afraid the eggs were going to stick and create a big mess in my cast iron skillets, but they came out perfectly. Thanks for the recipe(s)!
First time making a comment here, although I’ve been reading your blog since ages.
I’m spanish, and, as a lot of people said above, usually we use diced potatoes instead of sliced ones, and much more potatoes than eggs. Also, if you let potatoes and eggs rest a while (a couple of minutes) in a bowl together, you’ll find that your tortilla is much more tastier.
You people would like to try adding some chopped chorizo or cheese to the potaoes/eggs mix, I promise it’s delicious with cheese inside.
Other variant, that is usually served at restaurants or bars, is slicing the tortilla in 2 horizontal halves, and put some boiled ham, cheese, lettuce and tomato with a bit of mayonaise between both halves. Try it and then tell me ^^
Thanks for the suggestions Noemi! ~Elise
My mother was raised in Zamora, Spain. We ate tortillas a couple times a week as children. She always sliced the potatoes in thick, french-fry like pieces. This may have been done to save time to get dinner on the table for three children. There were far more potatoes than eggs. Eggs were more of a binder than anything. And she used lots of sliced spanish onions and garlic. And always served with a fresh green salad with olive oil and vinegar dressing. That is how I make mine now, too. Delicious!
I love your site Elise and I use it literally all the time to make food! I had a question on how you personally take care of your cast iron. I ‘ve scoured the internet and come across quite a few different opinions. some saying to use water only no soap some saying no water at all (alton brown says to just scrub with kosher salt).
What do you do to clean/take care of your cast iron after you use it? Thanks, I can’t wait to try this recipe tomorrow for dinner!
Hi Albert, if something is stuck, I soak it with water. I wipe it clean with a sponge. Sometimes I add soap when I forget that I’m dealing with cast iron. You really should only use water. I then wipe it completely dry, otherwise any wet will cause rusting. Then I take a teaspoon of olive oil and use a paper towel to rub the inside all over with olive oil. ~Elise
I am a Spanaird who lives in the states. My family and I have made many tortillas. It was definately a budget meal growing up and a regular on Friday meatless days. We make it with french fry style potatoes – and I find that baking potatoes work for me. We also use a lot more potatoes than eggs. We cook the potatoes in olive oil, with sliced Spanish onions (of course). The potatoes take on the onion flavor. (You can add anything you want or have on hand to the tortilla – my dad loves it wth green peppers. Spinach, chorizo, diced ham – whatever you like. Just remember that this is mainly potatoes and you don’t want to overdue it with to many other ingredients.) Once the potatoes are done (golden), I put a plate over the frying pan and drain the oil out – alternately you can scoop the potatoes and mixture out of the pan. Remove the oil from the pan – but don’t wipe it clean. Put the potato mix into a bowl of beaten eggs and mix so the potatoes are coated. pour the mix back into the pan and continue to cook on the stove top. When the middle has set – pick up the pan and shake it gently to tell – put the plate over the pan, flip onto the plate and then slide the uncooked top back onto the frying pan to finish. I know you can have it room temp – but the BEST is right off the stovetop. Just Yummy! I think I know what’s for dinner tomorrow night!