This simple yet tasty Spanish tortilla (tortilla Española) can be made with traditional potato or swap it for rutabaga for a lower carb version. It’s great as part of a tapas meal, or take it on a picnic or to a party. Versatile, comforting and so good.
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Tortilla Española, or tortilla de patatas, is something you see in virtually every bar and cafe that serves food in Spain. For those unfamiliar, it’s a type of omelette, Spain’s version of a fritatta, most typically made with potato and onion.
Some would be relatively ‘normal’ sized while others could be a good three inches thick (in case you are wondering, there are special double-sided pans that help that be possible but it still takes some skill).
It was always a regular on our tapas selection when I lived there, usually sitting outside on a patio. And indeed outdoors is a great setting for this dish. While you might think of it in a restaurant or at home, it’s also perfect for a picnic. It’s pretty robust and perfect for sharing.
As I said, a Spanish tortilla is most commonly made with potato, but I sometimes also make it with rutabaga which has a very similar texture but is is a little less starchy and lower in carbs, if that’s important to you.
I have also had it with slices of zucchini/courgette mixed in with the potatoes which goes well.
How to make Spanish tortilla
Whether using potato or rutabaga, you peel and cut slices that are thin, bite-sized pieces before frying them with the onion. Cook them until the potatoes are tender to a knifepoint.
Beat the eggs then add the cooked vegetables to the eggs along with some salt and pepper. Stir gently then tip the mixture back in the skillet. Leave to cook over a low hear until the eggs are largely set.
See how it comes together in the short video!
As I mentioned, you can get special kind of double-sided skillets that will let you flip it over in the same pan, but they are not that common outside Spain.
Instead, if you don’t have one the common alternative is to put a plate over the top, flip over the skillet then slide the tortilla back into the skillet the other way up. Some times work better than others, it’s fair to say.
These days I often cheat a little and go more down the frittata cooking method of finishing it off under the grill/broiler. It’s certainly less likely to have collapsing/falling on the floor or other similar issues! Do as you prefer.
Spanish tortilla is a great thing to take along to a picnic as it is easily transportable, not too messy and you can cut it either into wedge portions or bite-sized cubes to make for easy eating. It also goes well with pretty much anything and is really tasty, so what could be better?
Dishes to pair with Spanish tortilla include:
- Pinchos Morunos (warmly-spiced meat skewers)
- White wine marinated steak
- Gambas al ajillo (Spanish garlic shrimp)
- Spanish cheese plate
- Simple summer Spanish tapas.
- 13 oz potato 370g, or you can use rutabaga/swede (I use nearer 14oz/400g with this)
- 1 onion small-medium
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 4 eggs large
- salt and pepper
- Peel the potato/rutabaga and onion. Cut the potato/rutabaga in to relatively thin disks – this is probably easiest if you cut chunks around 1in/2.5cm square or a bit smaller then slice them around 1/8in/3mm thick. Peel and dice the onion.
- Heat the oil in a small skillet/frying pan over a medium heat then add the potato/rutabaga and onion. Cook, stirring regularly to move the bottom pieces to the top and prevent browning for around 20min, until the potato/rutabaga slices are soft to the knifepoint.
- Beat the eggs in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked potato/rutabaga and onion and mix through.
- Add a little more oil to the skillet if it is dry then tip in the egg mixture and cook over a medium-low heat until you can see it has cooked round the outside and is fairly set in the middle. Heat the broiler/grill and put the pan under until the top is fully set – you aren’t looking for it to brown too much, just set the egg.
- Allow to rest slightly before loosening from the pan, then place a plate over the pan and invert onto the plate. Serve warm or room temperature in slices or cubes.
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Post has been updated, primarily with new photos.