Tortilla Española

by on August 4, 2012
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AKA Spanish Tortilla

In Spain, the tortillas are not the thin things that we are used to in Phoenix, but rather thick potato quiches.

In Spain, tortillas are not the thin things that we use here in Phoenix, but rather thick potato quiches.


  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1-1/4 pounds waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 8 extra-large eggs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Optional:  Cheese mix: See notes at bottom of this page.


  1. Heat half of your oil in a large skillet till hot, but not smoking.
  2. Add the onion and stir occasionally.  Onion should sweat and soften, but not caramelize.
  3. Gently toss the potatoes in with the onion, seasoning with salt and pepper along the way.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium, and cover.
  5. Simmer – stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat if necessary so that the vegetables do not brown, until the potatoes are tender when pierced with the tip of a parking knife, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, beat the eggs with salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl.
  7. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high until very hot but not smoking.
  8. Gently temper the potatoes and onion into the eggs
  9. Pour the entire thing into the skillet, spreading the potatoes evenly in the pan.
  10. Cook for about 1 minute, just to set the bottom of the egg mixture.
  11. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 20 minutes, or until almost set through.
  12. Carefully flip the tortilla over (invert it onto a plate if you must, then slide it back into the pan, bottom side up) and cook for 5 minutes longer, until set.
  13. Flip out onto a clean plate and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
  14. Serve warm or at room temperature.


  • After reducing the heat to medium-low in Step 11, start checking for doneness after about 15 minutes. It may not take the 20 minutes mentioned depending on the pan you use. You don’t want to overcook the eggs or they’ll toughen and become dry.
  • You could, of course, Americanize this just a bit with cheese.  Option 1 is to use a Monterey Jack and cheddar mix.  Option 2 is to grate a nutty Gruyere, Manchego or Parmigiano-Reggiano and toss into the egg and potato mixture. It isn’t traditional but it adds another layer of flavor.
  • Use organic eggs if possible. There is a difference, especially in dishes like this one where eggs are the focal point.
  • Tortilla Española is essentially the national dish of Spain. You can eat it as a tapa, for breakfast, in a bocadillo (sandwich), or for dinner with salad and a bit of jamon. Basically anytime, anywhere. We had a great one at Valdubon and I think it’s because they weren’t afraid to use a lot of olive oil. No fear!

Reprinted from Spain: A Culinary Road Trip by Mario Batali with Gwyneth Paltrow, published by Ecco, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2008 with adaptations by Robert (Grandpa) Andrews


Find more like this: Appetizers and Sides, Breads, Pasta, Potatoes, Starches, Casseroles and Pan Dishes, Travel Cooking, World Cuisine

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