Is there anything more Spanish than la tortilla española?
I’m really sure not sure that there is. When made right, a Spanish omelet is the definition of traditional Spanish cuisine: simple to make, clean flavors, and the best ingredients. This is the formula for the greatest Spanish recipes.
I waited three years to make a tortilla of my own.
Why so long? Well, to be perfectly honest, the Spanish omelet intimidates me. It can be so incredibly good– and also terribly, horribly bad. I’ve had my fair share of both ends of the spectrum, and wanted my first tortilla to be a well thought out event.
Was it? Of course not! The first time I finally got the nerve to make a tortilla española of my own it was a split second decision, followed by an hour in the kitchen and a resulting tasty, though partially burnt, tortilla concoction. It wasn’t an all out failure, but it was far from the Spanish omelet of my dreams!
But with time and patience, I learned the tricks and perfected the ever so intimidating Spanish omelet recipe. This is my version, with onions (a controversial ingredient among Spaniards) and left quite runny in the middle (you are free to cook it longer). It is delicious, easy to make (at least once you get the hang of it!) and makes the ideal Spanish tapa for a dinner or cocktail party. It is also incredible when placed into a warm baguette and eaten as a tortilla sandwich— it is actually the sandwich of choice among Spanish school children and a popular afternoon snack.
So without further chit chat, here is the best recipe for an authentic Spanish omelet– I hope you enjoy it!
- 1 kilogram (about 2 pounds) of potatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 large eggs (free range if possible)
- 1 onion
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Peel the potatoes and rinse them under cold water.
- Slice the potatoes into thin slices, I prefer about ½ centimeter (some prefer thicker)
- Pat the potato slices dry and put them into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and mix well.
- Heat a ½ inch of high quality extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan at medium low heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the potatoes and add more oil if necessary until all are covered.
- Cook the potatoes for 20 minutes at a low heat (they may break apart, that is okay).
- While the potatoes are cooking, beat the eggs in a large bowl and season with some salt and pepper.
- Slice the onion as thin as possible (julianne style) and fry in a separate frying pan for about 10 minutes until they begin to caramelize (stir often).
- When the onions are caramelized, drain off any excess oil and add to the egg mixture.
- When the potatoes have been frying 20 minutes, remove them with a slotted spoon into a strainer and allow to cool off while any excess oil drips away.
- After a few minutes, add the potatoes to the egg mixture and stir well.
- Let the egg mixture sit for about 20 minutes.
- In the same pan where you fried the potatoes, remove all the oil (you can reuse it!) and over a medium low heat add the egg mixture.
- Over a low heat, cook the eggs for about 6-8 minutes per side.
- When you are sure that the bottom is cooked and you want to flip the tortilla, take a large plate and put it over the pan and flip quickly! Some egg will likely slip out-- it'll be messy-- but that's okay!
- Finally, slide out of the pan onto a serving plate and let cool a little before diving in.
So that is it! My tips are to cook the Spanish omelet at a low heat (that way it won’t burn) and experiment the first few times with different cook times until you get it right. Also, I prefer to slice the potatoes thin so that they do break apart, and I prefer to caramelize the onions quite a bit… yum! Lastly *super tip*– it is easier to make mini tortillas in the tiny single egg frying pans they sell. Mine come out perfect every time!
Let me know if you try making this authentic Spanish tortilla— I’m curious to see how it goes for others!
- Find the best tortilla in Madrid here!
- Make a cold glass of sangria to wash it all down with my favorite sangria recipe.
What do you think– are the best Spanish omelets are made with onions or not? Caramelized? Runny in the middle or cooked through?