Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish Omelette)

By 1800FlyEurope in World Cuisine Wednesdays | on March 21st, 2012
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World Cuisine Wednesday

When I think back to the amazing semester that I spent studying in Spain years ago, memories of chatting with friends around a small patio table set on a cobblestone sidewalk and sipping a refreshing glass of wine instantly rush to mind. What a delightful surprise it was to learn that many of the privately owned cafes/bars in Seville offered a free tapa (similar to a single size serving/appetizer) with your drink!

One of the most common pintsize meals that are brought to the table is the tortilla de patatas (Spanish Omelette); this is a simple potato and egg dish that is cut into bite size squares, and then each piece is garnished with a toothpick. It may be served room temperature or warm. If you would like the tortilla to go, the bocadillo (sandwich made with fresh baguette) is a great companion to bring with you on a train ride.

Yield: 6 servings

Prep and Cook Time: 45 minutes

You will need:

  • Medium size, nonstick frying pan
  • Large colander


  • Salt
  • 5 Medium Potatoes (such as russet or Yukon)
  • Optional: 1 Medium Onion (white or red are fine)

Note: Often the tortilla is prepared without onion but if you like onions, you won’t regret adding it to this recipe.

  • About 1 cup of olive oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • Optional: baguette


  1. Peel the potatoes and cut them in half, lengthwise. Then, slice into 1/8 thick pieces, or use a mandolin.
  2. Peel and dice the onion.
  3. Crack the eggs, mix well, and set aside the large bowl for the time being.
  4. Heat the oil on medium-low. Add the potatoes first, and make sure the olive oil almost covers them. (It may seem like a lot of oil, but don’t worry, you will be straining most of it out after this step.) Sprinkle a dash of salt to taste. You don’t want to cook the spuds too quickly or brown them (if it can be helped). Traditionally, the Spanish tortilla isn’t prepared with golden brown potatoes or caramelized onions. Continue to fry for about 5 minutes and add the onions. Regularly stir the mixture, and it should take about 10 minutes (total) to reach the desired consistency. It’s ok if the potatoes break apart, and you will know that they are ready when a piece can easily be split with a spatula.
  5. Remove the pan from the burner and carefully drain the contents into the large colander over another pan. Dispose of the oil properly, don’t dump the oil down the kitchen sink.
  6. Stir the potatoes and onions into the large bowl of eggs.
  7. You will use the same skillet to fry up the tortilla. The pan should have enough oil left in it from the previous steps, but add a little more if the interior surface looks dry. Keep the heat set on medium-low. Pour the ingredients into the pan, level and smooth out the potatoes so that they evenly cover the skillet bottom. Allow the tortilla to cook for about 5-6 minutes, until the center is cooked all the way through (the egg should be firm and should spring back to form when pressed). Use the spatula to check that the base of the omelette is golden brown in color.
  8. Remove from heat and place a large plate over the top of the pan. Flip the tortilla onto the plate. Make sure that the skillet is well covered with the olive oil, and slide the omelette from the plate back into the frying pan.
  9. Cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the other side is nicely browned.
  10. Serve as a hearty sandwich on a piece of baguette, or cut the tortilla into ¬Ω inch squares and place a toothpick in the center of each cube.

Impress your guests and pair this tapa with a side dish aceitunas (olives) and a large pitcher of Sangria. What finer way is there to start off a dinner/garden party this spring? Except for maybe booking flights to Seville for yourself, family and friends to experience the real deal in Spain. However, if I shut my eyes for a moment, take a sip of sangria, and listen to my friends’ jubilant chitchat in the background, my imagination can sweep me right back to an open-air café in Spain, and I have the next best thing.



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Written by 1800FlyEurope

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