The Tortilla de Patata or Potato Omelet in English is not your typical American-style Spanish Omelet. This Spanish recipe is made with eggs, potatos, onions, olive oil, and salt in what is the best Spanish tortilla you will try.
There are some regional variations that include chorizo sausage, zucchini, green bell peppers, or mushrooms, but regardless of the variations, it is often served in tapas bars, sliced, or cut into small cubes and wedges, when it’s called pincho de tortilla.
Tortilla de patata crumbles easily if it’s too hot, so it’s best to let it cool down and pair it with a glass of bold red wine.
Tortilla de Patata ~ Potato Omelet
- 8 eggs
- 2 lbs potatoes
- Extra virgin olive oil for frying potatoes
- 1 large onion optional
- Salt to taste
- Peel the potatoes and rinse them under cold water.
- Slice the potatoes into thin slices, about 1/2 centimeter.
- Pat the potato slices dry and put them into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and mix well.
- Heat a 1/2 inch of high quality extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan at medium low heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the potatoes and add more oil if necessary until all are covered.
- Cook the potatoes for 20 minutes at a low heat (they may break apart, that is okay).
- While the potatoes are cooking, beat the eggs in a large bowl and season with some salt.
- Slice the onion as thin as possible (julienne style) and fry over a low heat in a separate heavy pan (I like stainless steel) for about 10-20 minutes until they begin to caramelize (stir often).
- When the onions are caramelized, drain off any excess oil and add to the egg mixture.
- When the potatoes have been frying 20 minutes, remove them with a slotted spoon into a strainer and allow to cool off while any excess oil drips away.
- After a few minutes, add the potatoes to the egg mixture and stir well.
- Let the egg mixture sit for about 20 minutes.
- In the same pan where you fried the potatoes, remove all the oil (you can reuse it!) and over a medium low heat add the egg mixture.
- Over medium-low heat, cook the tortilla for about 6-8 minutes per side. Make sure the heat is low enough or the tortilla will cook too quickly and be rubbery. You can run a rubber spatula along the edges to make sure the tortilla isn’t sticking.
- When you are sure that the bottom is cooked and you want to flip the tortilla, take a large plate and put it over the pan and flip quickly! Some egg will likely slip out– it’ll be messy– but that’s okay!
- Finally, slide out of the pan onto a serving plate and let cool a little before diving in.
- Use room temperature eggs. In Europe, many people don’t refrigerate their eggs at all. Recipes are meant to use room temperature eggs and it does make a big difference.
- Let the egg, potato, and onion mixture sit for at least 15 minutes — minimum! This makes a HUGE difference to the final result. It is a must.
- Don’t fear the flip! You have to go forcefully and quickly to make it happen. Don’t be afraid!
- Use a small frying pan and make two tortillas when starting out. I love this tip because it makes the flip so much easier (the pan is lighter, any dinner plate will work, and if you mess up the first time you still have half the batter left!).
History of the Tortilla de Patata ~ Potato Omelet
Introduced in 1817, folklore says that tortilla de patata was created by general Tomás de Zumalacárregui in order to feed his hungry army, as food supplies were scarce at the time. The key ingredients used in the dish are thinly sliced potatoes and eggs, so it is basically a very thick potato omelet that resembles a frittata when finished.
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