This traditional recipe for Spanish tortilla de patatas (or omelette with potatoes) is a famous versatile dish of Spain you can eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Funny story. I’ve been eating this dish my entire life without even knowing its’ name. Every time my mom wanted to make us dinner but was short of time, she would ask us if we want an omelet with fried potatoes, and everytime our answer was (of course) yes! The thing is, my mom is from Crete not Spain, but for some reason, in Crete, this type of omelet is a lot more common than your typical only eggs and butter recipe. It was years later when I realized that this delicious omelette with potatoes cooked in olive oil is actually named Spanish omelette or tortilla de patatas and is regarded to be a traditional Spanish dish.
Warm or cold, the Spanish tortilla is equally delicious
I happen to love recipes with eggs and recipes with versatility. And just like this Mediterranean vegetable fritatta, this omelette with potatoes is a very versatile dish, not only because you get to play with the ingredients you’ll use, but also because it can be eaten hot, warm, at room temperature, or cold. I’m not saying it tastes exactly the same. I’m saying that depending on the temperature in which it’s being served, the character of the dish may be slightly different, but delicious no matter what. After the potatoes are cooked there are many things you can add if you want to make it richer. Ham, mushrooms, peppers, bacon, cheese, all are good choices.
However, the authentic recipe for Spanish tortilla uses only eggs, potatoes, and onion, though the addition of onion is debated. I like mine without onion, but if you want to use it, you’ll add it at the same time with the potatoes or a little after.
How much oil to use for the Spanish tortilla:
You can use just enough oil to cover the surface of the pan and cook the potatoes covered with a lid until soft, but if you use a little more oil, then the potatoes are cooked more evenly and they retain their shape better. Traditionally, olive oil is used, but if it’s expensive where you live, you can use any type of frying oil or a mix of olive oil and another type of vegetable oil like corn oil. After you fry the potatoes pass the oil through a sieve and store it in a glass jar. You can use it two more times without any problems.
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Spanish tortilla recipe (omelette with potatoes)
- Olive oil about 0.75 inch deep or enough to just cover the potatoes
- 4 medium-sized potatoes cut in strips
- 5-6 large eggs
- Salt to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ onion, sliced (optional)
- 2-3 sprigs of parsley, chopped (optional)
- Deep frying pan at least 9 inches (22 cm) in diameter
- Salt the potatoes, mix, and let them rest for 5 minutes. Drain well and dry with paper towels.
- Fill a deep frying pan with oil, about 1 inch deep, and heat over high heat. Add the potatoes, reduce heat to medium/high and cook until tender (about 20 minutes). Stir once after about 10 minutes.
- Break the eggs in a bowl, add a pinch of salt, freshly grated black pepper, the parsley (if using), and a splash of water. Beat well with a fork until homogenized.
- When the potatoes are done, transfer them to a plate and drain the oil into a heatproof bowl (be careful since it will be very hot). Return the potatoes to the pan, level them with a spatula and add the eggs. Stir with the spatula and shake the pan to distribute everything evenly.
- Reduce heat to medium and cook until the eggs start to thicken around the edges (about 6-8 minutes. Cover the pan with a large plate and flip. Return the pan to the heat and slide the omelette with the uncooked side down into the pan. Continue cooking for 5-6 minutes or until completely cooked. Eat!
- The thinner you cut the potatoes, the faster they will cook.
- You can also use another type of vegetable oil instead olive oil, or half of each.
- You can use just enough oil to cover the surface of the pan and cook the potatoes covered with a lid until soft, but if you use a little more oil the potatoes are cooked more evenly and they retain their shape better.
- Additions: red peppers, feta cheese, sausages or chorizo, grated or cubed cheese, broccoli, ham.
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I used to eat this all the time when I was a kid. Delicious!