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If you have ever been to Spain, you are likely well acquainted with a Spanish Tortilla, or Tortilla Española. The dish can be found on most restaurant menus, as well as in supermarkets and homes throughout Spain.
Tortilla Española is a dish made with thinly sliced potatoes and onions, slowly cooked in olive oil, then pan-fried with scrambled eggs. Those few ingredients come together in a way that defies their simplicity.
The tortilla is most frequently served at room temperature at any time of the day. It has a creamy texture that made me swear there was cheese in there somewhere. But no, a traditional Tortilla Española is a very simple comfort food that honestly doesn’t need much dressing up.
Occasionally you will find a slice of tortilla atop a piece of bread slathered with aioli sauce as part of a Tapas menu, or made into a sandwich for a heartier lunch or dinner.
All of that said, it’s difficult not to stray and try a little variation, which is what we’ve done with the addition of Mexican Chorizo Sausage.
We opted for the Mexican Chorizo version specifically because it crumbles very easily, and adds just a touch of additional flavor without overwhelming the other ingredients.
Making a Tortilla Española can be a little intimidating initially because of the technique used to achieve the perfect level of browning while retaining a creamy interior.
This is achieved by toasting the tortilla in a sauté pan, and, toasted to perfection on the bottom, inverting the pan onto a dish and sliding the tortilla back into the pan to finish cooking on the other side. Sounds a little intimidating, but it’s easier than it sounds.
We started making a mini version of the Spanish Tortilla to get the hang of the technique before moving to a larger pan.
The pan used for this recipe is 8 inch X 1.5-inch pan (20 cm X 3.8 cm). Experienced chefs use even larger pans, but we found this one was the perfect size for us.
Note: This recipe used quite a bit of olive oil in the cooking process. Most of it gets drained off after the potatoes and onions are cooked through. The leftover olive oil can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and used as a seasoned oil for sauteing vegetables or making other egg dishes such as omelets.
Enjoy the Tortilla Española by itself or as part of a complete Spanish Tapas menu:
- 2 large Russet or Yukon Gold Potatoes about 1 pound or 450 g)
- 1 Medium White Onion
- 1 1/2 Cups (366 ml) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Link Chorizo Sausage (126 g), crumbled
- 5 Large Eggs
- Salt and Pepper, To Taste
- Several Sprigs of Chopped Cilantro or Chives (optional)
- Add the crumbled chorizo to a pan and sauté until it is browned (about 5 - 7 minutes). Drain and set aside.
- Peel and Wash the Potatoes. Slice with a knife or food processor into 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch (.3 - .6 cm) pieces, approximately the size of a quarter.
- Thinly slice the onion in to approximately the same size.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Lightly salt the potatoes and onion, then add them to the oil. Cook at a gentle boil, turning them occasionally. The goal is to cook the potatoes until they are soft and fork tender (about 20 - 25 minutes). Do not brown or allow the potatoes to reach the stage where they begin to break apart when turned.
- Once the potatoes and onions are tender, drain them in a colander over a dish to collect the olive oil. Set aside and allow to cool for 15 minutes. This is important to allow them to cool and not immediately cook the eggs when they are combined together.
- Crack the eggs into a bowl and lightly season with salt and pepper. Beat until they are slightly frothy.
- Add 2 Tablespoons of the reserved olive oil to a small frying pan (8 inches in diameter X 1.5 inches deep, 20.8 X 3.8 cm) over medium heat. Make sure that the pan is coated on all sides. *Note 1
- Combine the potato mixture, chorizo and eggs together. If you decide to add additional herbs, add them now. Gently add the mixture to the pan. The pan should be almost full. Gently press down on the potato mixture to make sure they are evenly distributed in the pan.
- Allow the tortilla mixture to cook for 10 - 15 minutes. During cooking, use a rubber spatula to gently press the sides of the tortilla inward as it cooks, which will result in a disc shaped tortilla.
- Once the bottom of the tortilla begins to brown and the top is just beginning to set, prepare to turn the tortilla. Place a large flat plate on top of the pan, and quickly invert the pan into the plate. Then gently slide the tortilla back into the pan.
- Cook for another 3 - 5 minutes, until the bottom begins to lightly brown. Slide the tortilla onto a plate and allow it to cool for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
*Note 1: Leftover olive oil can be stored in the refrigerator for 1 - 2 weeks. It can be used to make your next tortilla, or as a nice substitute when sautéeing vegetables or making scrambled eggs.
Amount Per Serving Calories 240Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 4.7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 4.7gCholesterol -mgSodium 496mgCarbohydrates 13.5gFiber 3gSugar 2gProtein 11g