One of the most popular dishes when visiting Spain is the Tortilla Española. Other aliases of this dish can be the Tortilla de Patata, which is what it mainly consists of, potatoes; along with egg. Whatever you call it in Spanish, the English translation will be Spanish Omelette. The alternative, a French Omelette, being what we commonly refer to in English as just an omelette. This distinction becomes very important while traveling to make sure you get the right order.
The Swiss Army knife of tapas? You can eat it at any meal, served alone, make it into a pintxo, make it into a sandwich and realistically fill it with anything. One of my favorite tortillas in Barcelona is a chorizo-based omelette from El Xampanyet. Maybe I should try one of those next!
I made a Tortilla Española con calabacín (zucchini) last night and got quite a few requests to see a recipe so others can try it at home, so here it is:
1kg of Kennebec potatoes (2.2 lbs)
1 pot to fry the potatoes
1 pan (medium size)
The picture above shows the ingredients I used in my tortilla. You can make a great tortilla with out the zucchini and even with out the onion and just stick to potatoes and eggs. I would personally suggest to keep the onion but you can substitute the zucchini for all types of options. As you can see I used a round zucchini I found the other day, which is quite water-based (keep that in mind), but any zucchini will do. I used Kennebec potatoes here, another option I like are Mona Lisa potatoes. Try out different options and see what yields the best taste.
Disclaimer: I don’t generally follow timings very carefully and just go off what looks and feels right. Especially when starting out, I think this helps you learn what works best for you!
10 Steps to your first Tortilla
1. Start by peeling and washing the potatoes, cutting them into thin slices. Another option would be dicing the potatoes into cubes, similar to Patatas Bravas. I like slicing the potatoes so they can be cooked in the olive oil with more efficiency and get a little bit crispier for the filling.
2. Heat a pot of olive oil (about a finger deep, or enough to cover the potatoes).
3. Place the potatoes in the heated olive oil and leave until you start to notice the change in color or a bit of browning in the potatoes. Remember they will be cooked again later with the egg.
4. Prepare the onions and zucchini. As you can see in the picture I diced both the onion and the zucchini into very small pieces. I would prefer larger pieces, but my girlfriend isn’t a very big fan of onion, so to better hide it inside I diced it into very small pieces. I took the same measures with the zucchini (although not necessary).
Skinning the zucchini or even cutting smaller pieces will work as well.
5. Cook the onion and zucchini in a separate pan with bit of olive oil from the potatoes. Because of their size after dicing, I didn’t want to add them to the potatoes and drown them in olive oil. With larger pieces you could combine them.
6. When the potatoes are done, remove them from the the olive oil and place in a bowl covered with a paper towel to absorb the extra olive oil. Mix with the onion and zucchini and let it cool off (about 20 minutes).
7. Open and whisk the eggs in a separate bowl and add the potato, onion and zucchini mix. Add salt accordingly.
8. Heat your medium sized pan with a small amount (very fine layer) of olive oil so the mix doesn’t stick. Add the mix and lower the heat. Leave for about 1-2 minutes without touching anything, only rotating the pan in small circles to make sure nothing it sticking. Be careful not to leave it too long so you don’t burn or crisp it.
The length of time you leave the first part will dictate the creaminess of the interior of the tortilla and the difficulty of the flip.
9. THIS IS THE HARDEST PART! Take a plate of flat lid and place it on top of the pan (over the sink is best) and flip the tortilla over. Go fast and don’t think too much. Good Luck!
10. Replace the tortilla in the pan with the uncooked half at the bottom for another couple minutes (keep the heat low).
Remove and enjoy!