Making a Perfect Spanish Tortilla

Ruth Polak

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Mexican and Spanish Tortillas are not to be confused as they are two very different dishes. Likewise this Spanish omelete is only a distant cousin to the French omelette as it is not folded but is quite thick and flat and normally contains potato and sometimes bits of meat or other vegetables. Traditionally the Spanish tortilla was taken by the peasants into the fields where it was eaten cold between two slices of homemade bread covered in olive oil.

It is often served in slices, again cold, in tapas bars. However it can equally well be enjoyed hot with a side salad and some crispy bread and as such is an important part of the health giving Mediterranean diet.

The success of making a Spanish Tortilla lies in the turning of the omelette and cooking it on both sides. For this I use a specially designed wooden platter with a knob handle, rather reminiscent of a saucepan lid, which I bought in Spain. However provided the first side is well cooked an ordinary dinner plate will suffice. For a 4 egg Spanish Tortilla use an 8" (20cm) frying pan or smaller, so that it comes out good and thick. It goes without saying that olive oil should be used to cook it in.

Basic Spanish Tortilla.

I kilo potatoes
4-5 eggs
3 Tbs. chopped onion ( optional )
half tsp. salt.
50 ml. Olive oil

Either dice or slice the peeled potatoes. Heat the oil until very hot then add the potatoes and onions, if desired. Stir to completly cover in oil and seal them. Reduce heat slightly and continue stirring and cooking, without browning, for about 15 minutes. Using the edge of a metal spatula keep cutting into the potatoes, dicing them whilst they cook. When quite tender drain off the oil into a heat proof dish and put the potatoes in a bowl. Beat the eggs and salt together well, then stir into the potatoes and mix well.

Return the oil to the pan and reheat. Pour in the egg and potato mixture, let it set on the bottom then turn down the heat and cook slowly so it doesn't brown too fast. Run your spatula around the edge of the pan to stop it sticking and shake the pan frequently to keep it loose. When the bottom is cooked place a plate over the frying pan and turn your Spanish tortilla onto it, then return to the pan, uncooked side down and continue cooking for a further 5 minutes or so. Serves 2 as a main dish or 4-6 as an appetizer or first course.

Spanish Tortilla with Spinach.

This is a lovely healthy variation on the tradtional dish.


6 Tbs. cooked spinach
2 tsps. finely choped onion
2 eggs beaten
salt and pepper
grated cheese
1 Tbs. olive oil

Drain the spinach well and chop finely, mix with the onion, salt, pepper and beaten egg. Heat the oil in a small pan and pour in the mixture. Cook and turn as per the traditional Spanish tortilla and sprinkle with grated cheese just prior to serving.

Spanish Tortilla with Asparagus.

400 grams potaoes
100 grams cooked asparagus tips
1 onion thinly sliced
1 Tbs. chopped parsley
50 ml. olive oil
half tsp. salt
100 grams brown breadcrumbs
6 eggs beaten

Dice the potaoes and cook with the onion in 2 tbs. olive oil, as per the basic recipe. When tender stir in the breadcrumbs and asparagus. Fry all for a few minutes. Mix together the eggs, parsley and salt. Add remaining oil to the pan, heat through then add egg mixture and cook and turn as for the basic Spanish tortilla recipe. Serves 6 as a starter.

Spanish Tortilla with Prawns.

6 prawns, cooked, peeled and chopped
2 eggs
1Tbs. finely chopped parsley
salt and pepper
2 Tbs. olive oil

Add the chopped prawms to the well beaten eggs. Season with the salt, pepper and parsley. Heat the oil well and then cook and turn as above.

Article submitted by Ruth Polak the owner of . A web site specializing in holiday villas and apartments on the Costa del Sol and in Rural Andalucia. You will also find lots of information about Spain and Andalucia, in particular.


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