La Tortilla Española or Tortilla de Patatas

Chances are, if I have ever been lucky enough to serve you a meal, you’ve probably tasted Tortilla Española, the ubiquitous national anthem of Spanish cooking. So simple to prepare correctly, yet so complex in flavor. So much fun to present at the table, it can be served in pie-like slices with a few chunks of good bread, cut into cubes and served as tapas, or even served  as a weekend brunch with a nice salad and a chilled glass of bubbly Cava. My mother would often wrap it up as a sandwich for me to take to school for “merienda” or “snack time”  Traditional Spanish Tortilla is just an egg, potato and onion omelet, but the Spanish revel in the flavors of the sweet caramelized onions ,  potatoes bursting with crusty goodness, and  most importantly  eggs cooked to creamy perfection. (I can’t count the number of nights as a child in Barcelona I’d fall asleep to the sound of  beating eggs and sizzling potatoes frying  from neighboring homes and restaurants) In Spain, you wont go a block without seeing  stacked  Tortillas in  pincho bars or proper restaurants. What I miss most about Spain is  popping in for a quick bite of tortilla, pan con tomate ( tomato and bread) , a few olives, and a nice glass of wine before starting the evening. Que rico!


Tortilla de Patatas, olives, crusty bread, cheese, and wine. All on

Tortilla Española or Tortilla de Patatas

(serves 6-8 portions)

8 eggs

2-3 medium potatoes , peeled and diced (about 2 cups)

1 medium white or yellow onion,  diced (about 1 cup)

2 cups canola or vegetable oil for  frying potatoes and onions

2 tablespoons olive oil for omelet

salt to taste

parsley, olives, red peppers, etc  for garnish (optional)


In large mixing bowl, mix together potatoes and onions with 2 teaspoons  salt. Meanwhile, in a large cast iron  or deep frying pan heat over high heat  2 cups oil til a drop of water dances in the oil. Carefully add handfuls of potato and onions . Mixture should be covered in oil for deepfrying. Reduce heat to medium and allow to cook til slightly golden brown. About 5-7 minutes. Meanwhile in large mixing bowl, beat eggs with whisk and set aside. When potatoes are golden brown, remove from heat and carefully  drain oil from mixture with colander. (you may reserve the oil for future use or discard it)  Allow potatoes and onions to slightly cool. About 5-10 minutes.  With wooden spoon, add potato onion mixture to the bowl of eggs , mix, and allow to sit for 5 minutes.Meanwhile, heat olive oil in cast iron frying pan over low to medium heat.  Carefully add egg mixture and divide evenly through the pan, allow to bubble slightly while wiggling the frying pan to evenly cook the omelete.

Tortilla de Patatas


Just when the sides of omelet are beginning to brown, take a large serving plate and cover the pan. Over the kitchen sink, carefully place one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and the omelet will fall onto the plate. This is the hardest part of the omelet, and the worst that can happen right now is that you spill some mixture into the sink.But  you’re almost done!

Flip the tortilla and slide back into pan

With a spatula, carefully place flipped tortilla back into pan and cook for about 5 minutes longer . Insert a knife into omelet to test for desired creaminess. When done, return to serving plate and serve piping hot or garnish and serve  at room temperature. Salt to taste.

Spanish Omelet garnished with olives, red peppers and parsley ( you dont have to)


  1. Danny Driscoll says:

    That sound you hear is my stomach growling. This is definitely a-must-have dish. Can’t wait to try it.

    1. The Bald Vivant says:

      I hear it Danny, I hear it.

      In Spain, its as easy as finding a slice of pizza in New York or lobster in Maine.

      And it is delicioso!

      The Bald Vivant

  2. Lucy W says:

    Beautiful! I love the photos, recipe and memories. La tortilla española! I like to eat it with pan con tomate and alioli.

    1. The Bald Vivant says:

      Me too Lucy. When tomatoes are in season in the States, theres nothing better than smearing them over some crusty bread with good olive oil for a delicious pa amb tomàquet ( bread and tomato in Catalan).

      The Bald Vivant

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>