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Imagine you’re sitting in a quaint neighborhood bar in Madrid, Spain. As you’re sipping ruby-red sangria and snacking on olives and charcuterie, the waiter brings you another dish to try. Your fork swoops down for a taste, and it easily pierces the puffy yellow triangle on your plate. Creamy layers of potato, onion and egg melt together in your melt—what is this egg-y concoction?
It’s Tortilla Espanola, what some may call the national dish of Spain. No, this dish has nothing to do with the flatbread we commonly think of as tortillas. Tortilla means “omelet” in Spanish. It’s an egg dish much like the Italian frittata, except for it’s done completely on the stovetop and always involves fried potatoes. In fact, it’s often called tortilla de patatas.
This Spanish omelet is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It can be served warm or at room temperature, so it’s great for picnics or dinner parties. This one-pot meal also can be served plain or jazzed up with veggies, sausage or prawns. A soup or salad is a great accompaniment. I served mine with my Sweet and Spicy Corn Soup and followed it up with a Mocha Mousse for a light but decadent dessert. ¡Buen apetito!
This recipe is adapted from one that appeared in the January 2000 issue of Bon Appetit by María de los Angeles Rodrguez Artacho, co-owner with her husband of Bar Jordi. It serves between for 4-8 for tapas or lunch. If you don’t have a v-slicer, you can simply dice the potatoes. Click here for a print copy of this recipe.
1½ c. oil
2½ lb. peeled red potatoes, cut into 1/8-in.-thick slices with mandoline or v-slicer
2½ c. thinly sliced onion
1 Tbs. coarse salt
8-10 large eggs
Splash of half-and-half
Cilantro or parsley, chopped, for garnish
Cook potatoes and onions. Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking and add potatoes, onion, and half of salt. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender but not colored, about 45 minutes. Drain vegetables in a large colander set over a bowl and cool 5 minutes. Lightly beat eggs and a splash of half-and-half in a large bowl. Gently stir in vegetables with 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper to taste.
Make tortilla. Return 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and add mixture, pressing potatoes flush with eggs. Cook over low heat, covered, 12 to 15 minutes, or until almost set. Turn off heat and let stand, covered, 15 minutes. Shake skillet gently to make sure tortilla is set on bottom and not sticking to skillet. Invert tortilla onto a large flat plate and slide back into skillet, bottom side up. (Alternatively, especially if top is still loose at this point, slide tortilla onto plate first. Cover it with skillet and invert tortilla back into skillet.) Round edge with a rubber spatula and cook over low heat, covered, 15 minutes more, or until set. Slide tortilla onto a serving plate and serve warm or at room temperature.
* If you’re pressed for time, skip the step where you let the tortilla rest for 15 minutes before flipping. Spanish cooks often debate this step; some insist it must be done for the tortilla to reach the perfect consistency, while others say it adds little to the final recipe. Try both variations to determine which method is best for you.