Tortilla Española is as quintessentially Spanish as Fish & Chips is British. It’s found across the country, in every home and tapas bar. The Spanish love it and eat it at every opportunity. And I’m not mad at them for that.
I love eggs. They are my one of my favourites and have been since I was a kid. I love them in all ways at any time of the day! Tortilla Española and I are very good friends.
When I visited Spain, I was naturally drawn to the tortilla. From the deli window I could see the potato slices layering through the eggs as I salivated like Charlie Bucket looking at chocolate through the shop window.
As an adult with pesetas in my pocket (if that’s not ageing me) I was able to enter the shop and buy a slice. I sat myself down on a step in the town Square and took my first bite. The first of many thousands of bites over the years. The potato was so creamy and filling and the eggs soft, fluffy and just set. And then a surprise! There was fish in my tortilla! Tuna fish! What the…?
I’ve since discovered this is a common recipe but the initial surprise turned to delight very quickly! Tuna works amazingly well with eggs & potatoes. Good quality tuna that is. Splash out on this, it makes the World of difference.
This tortilla is quite unlike any omelette or frittata I’d ever tried. I went into the deli for a second slice incidentally, and re-visited almost every day for a fortnight.
If I make it just for myself, I’ll make a full recipe and wrap it in foil and keep it in the fridge for boredom eating, passing the fridge eating, being at home eating or just before leaving the house eating. I’d love to say that it lasts a week, but if I know it’s in the fridge it’s lucky if it lasts the day.
How to make my Tortilla Española
- 12 large eggs
- 5 medium potatoes (peeled and cut into thin slices)
- 1 medium onion (halved and thinly sliced)
- 1 1/2 cup light olive oil
- 1 tbsp fresh oregano or thyme (chopped)
- Salt & pepper
- 1 jar good quality tuna in olive oil
- Pour the oil into a deep frying pan and heat over a moderate heat until hot but not smoking.
- Add the onion and all the potatoes to the oil and shake the pan gently to form a single layer. The potatoes should be just submerged. Add a little oil if needed. The potatoes and onion shouldn't be vigorously frying, more a gently bubbling, so adjust the heat if they're frying like crazy. We're trying to cook them without crisping or browning - confit, if you're fancy.
- Cook the potatoes until soft. The time depends how thickly you cut the slices, so could be between 5-8 minutes. Once they're cooked through, drain through a sieve and tip onto paper towels. Move them to a bowl quickly as they WILL stick to the paper towels if you leave them as I've discovered on many occasions. Set aside to cool completely.
- Beat the eggs in a large bowl until well combined. Add the cooked potato and onions and oregano. Drain the tuna (keeping the oil) and flake gently into the eggs. Season generously with salt & pepper. This can take a fair amount of salt (about 1+ teaspoon). Stir gently and set aside.
- Preheat your oven grill. Heat a 10"/25cm deep, cast iron or non-stick (OVEN SAFE) frying pan over a moderate heat. Pour in about 2 tablespoons olive oil from the tuna and heat til hot.
- Pour in the egg mix and let it sit for 30 seconds, before bringing in the edges with a wooden spoon to move the egg mix into the gaps to help it cook. Shake the pan a little to re-distribute the potatoes evenly. Repeat this for 2-3 minutes.
- We're going to cook the rest of the tortilla from the top. You CAN flip it, but it's too traumatic and this is just as effective. Place the pan under the hot grill and let it cook until the top is well browned. Give the pan a shake and if it feels completely set, you're done.
- Let the tortilla cool for 20 minutes, Release it from the sides of the pan if needed then pop a large plate on top of the pan and carefully flip it over, trying not to display utter terror in your eyes, to get it on the plate! Easy! Did you drop it? Did the dog eat it?
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