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How to Cook a Spanish Tortilla

What the heck is a Spanish Tortilla?

In Spain, the tortilla is a staple; even Spaniards who claim not to know how to cook can make a basic tortilla.

It can be served hot for dinner or cold for breakfast, it’s cheap and filling, and it’s whim-friendly (throw in some chorizo! Or peppers!).

The classic version (the “clásico clásico” as my roommate put it) is the tortilla de patatas, with just onions, potatoes, and eggs.

Alberto García Fuertes is a champion tortilla maker.

Seriously.

He won a tortilla making competition in his local town. Granted, he entered as a joke and won by default, with one team disqualifying for being intoxicated, and the other for attempting to make a giant tortilla that ended up breaking. However, I’m sure that if he had been competing against the country’s best chefs, he still would have won because Alberto’s tortilla is perfection.

There are two tricks to making tortilla. The first is to make sure you fry your potatoes until they are super soft (“blandito blandito” as my host mom used to say). The second lies in the flipping step; I recommend using a large flat lid with a handle.

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Champion Tortilla Recipe:

1 medium onion, thinly sliced
3 medium potatoes, washed, peeled, and sliced ¼ inch thick
2-4 eggs
canola oil for frying
salt

1) Toss the onions and potatoes together with a pinch or two of salt.

2) Fry the potatoes and onions in enough oil that they are mostly submerged over medium-high heat until they are very soft, about 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on them; the potatoes shouldn’t be crispy.

3) Drain the onions and potatoes (you can reserve the oil for another purpose), transfer to a bowl, and season with salt to taste.

4) Beat 2 eggs and add them to your potato mixture, stirring to combine. Your mixture should be the consistency of a really thick batter. Add more beaten eggs if needed.

5) Drizzle a bit of oil into a pan shaped like a shallow bowl and allow it to get hot over high heat. Add the egg potato mixture and flatten out the top a bit with a spatula. Wiggle the pan around a bit every now and then to ensure that the tortilla doesn’t stick.

6) When the edges look cooked, it’s time to flip. Cover the pan with a lid, flip the pan over, place your pan back on the heat leaving your tortilla on the lid, and then slide the tortilla back into the pan. If the tortilla breaks a little, reassemble it in the pan. Cook until the tortilla is done to your liking in the middle. Slide onto a plate and serve.

Serves 2-3.

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Meneka Thiru

Meneka Thiru, Contributor

Meneka was born and raised in Anchorage, and wherever she travels, Alaska is always home. Being of Sri Lankan heritage and growing up in the Indian community, she finds comfort in eating curry with her hands and has seen how food can be a piece of home that brings families together. Getting a degree in International Studies and Spanish Language and studying abroad has led to a bad case of wanderlust and a penchant for recklessly adventurous eating. Meneka lived in Spain for a year before returning to Anchorage, where she now lives and works.