Spanish Potato Tortilla

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One of my favorite memories of my trip to Spain was eating tapas. Regardless of the hour there was always a tapas restaurant open on just about every street corner in Madrid. Tapas are a social meal; you can order a variety of the small plates and share them amongst your table mates. They are also a great way to try new dishes and flavors since by ordering one you aren’t committing to a full entrée. And I would always try new dishes each time we sat down at the table. However, in addition to the plentiful little bowls of olives that graced every menu, tortillas made regular appearances. If a restaurant made a good tortilla I knew everything else they made would be good as well. I had forgotten much I liked tortillas nut after Spanish friends brought one to our house I knew I had to make my own.

Tortillas are actually quite simple; tender potatoes and onions are combined with eggs and fried. It sounds so basic but the flavors are anything but. This recipe is courtesy of Fine CookingIf you want to save time you can find pre-cut potatoes in your grocery store’s fresh food case. (I’ve recently discovered these and now swear by their convenience). You can serve the tortilla as part of a tapas dinner, as an appetizer or a snack. I love to eat the leftovers at room temperature the next day washed down with a glass of crisp rose wine. Now that is summer living.


1 3/4 cups olive oil (not extra virgin)

1 3/4 pounds low starch potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch slices

2 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt

2 medium onions, coarsely chopped

5 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

6 eggs

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Pour the olive oil into a 10 1/2 inch cast iron skillet and set over medium-high heat.
  • While the oil is heating, place the sliced potatoes in a large bowl and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the salt, tossing to distribute it well.
  • When the oil is very hot (test it by slipping a single potato slice into the oil. It should sizzle vigorously without the edges browning), slip the potatoes into the oil with a slotted spoon. Fry the potatoes, turning occasionally, taking care not to break them up. Adjust the heat if necessary to the potatoes cook without crisping or browning.
  • Line a plate with paper towels. When the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 12 minutes, transfer them to the plate.
  • Add the onions and garlic to the oil. Fry, stirring occasionally and lowering the heat as necessary, until the onions are very soft and translucent but not browned, 7-9 minutes. Remove from the pan and add to the plate with the potatoes.
  • Pour all but 1 tablespoon of the oil from the pan. Heat over high heat until both the oil and the pan are very hot.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and pepper with a fork until blended. Add the drained potatoes, onions and garlic and mix gently to combine, taking care not to break up the potatoes.
  • Pour the potato and egg mixture into the hot skillet, spreading it evenly. Cook for 1 minute then lower the heat to medium-low, cooking until the eggs are completely set at the edges and cooked halfway into the center and the tortilla easily slips around the pan when you give it a shake, about 8 to 10 minutes. You may need to use a thin spatula to loosen the edges.
  • Set a flat, rimless plate that is at least as wide as the skillet upside down over the pan. Lift the skillet off of the burner and with one hand on the bottom of the plate and the other holding the skillet’s handle, invert the skillet so the tortilla lands on the plate.
  • Set the pan back on the heat and slide the tortilla onto it, using the slotted spoon to push any stray potatoes back under the eggs.
  • Cook until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean and hot with no uncooked egg on it, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Transfer the tortilla to a serving platter and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve it warm, at room temperature or slightly cool.
  • Cut into wedges or small squares.

Yields:10-12 appetizer sized servings

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