Tortilla de Patatas
Tortilla de patatas, sometimes known as tortilla española or tortilla de papas in Latin America, is a classic Spanish staple. Surprisingly, the word tortilla just means omelet in Spain, which explains the name of this frittata-like dish. Even though the recipe requires a few steps, I find them worth it because a good tortilla de patatas is apt for any meal of the day and it's delicious hot, room-temperature, or even cold.
When I was an au pair in Spain, I ate tortilla de patatas almost everyday for breakfast. There was a café in the town that sold a piece of tortilla with bread and a café con leche for just €2.50. Whenever I went on trips with my host family, we'd pack a tortilla with some pieces of jamón serrano and bread for an on-the-go dinner. It's a very nostalgic food for me.
Some recipe notes:
I usually don't like non-stick pans, BUT I find that:
(a) most people own them anyway, AND
(b) recipes like this are almost impossible to make without one..
A lot of olive oil is needed to poach/gently fry the potatoes, but you can strain and reuse it for other recipes.
Naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegetarian.
No vegan option due to the importance of the eggs.
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed with a wet paper towel and peeled
1 medium onion
2 cups extra virgin olive oil (use a cheaper variety)
10 large eggs
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, then again in quarters, also the long way. Slice into 1/4" pieces, perpendicular to the long way. As you prepare the rest of the ingredients, place the sliced potatoes in cold water to avoid discoloration. Peel and slice the onion; set aside
Strain the water off the potatoes and lay them out on paper towels to dab dry.
Heat the oil in a 10" nonstick pan to medium/medium-low heat; add the potatoes. Cook, covered with a half-sheet pan, at a low simmer 10-15 minutes until mostly tender. Meanwhile, beat the eggs well until no streaks of white remain. Season eggs with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Set the egg mixture aside. Add the onions to the potato mixture in two batches, letting them slightly soften before adding the rest. Gently fry 5 more minutes.
Strain off the oil and save for another recipe. Spread the cooked potatoes and onions out on the half-sheet pan. Season generously with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper, let cool 5 minutes.
Add the seasoned potatoes and onions back to the non-stick pan, with only a teaspoon of cooking oil. Pour over the beaten eggs and gently shake the pan to make sure they are well-dispersed. Gently press down with a silicone spatula to even the surface.
Cook between medium and low heat until most of the tortilla is cooked through on the first side, with just a little uncooked egg on the top; approximately 15-20 minutes. It's ready when you shake the pan and the whole tortilla can move as one unit, rather than the uncooked parts moving so much on their own.
To flip the tortilla, put a large, heatproof plate on top of the skillet. Carefully invert (using a oven mitts), such that the brown side faces up on the plate and the wet side faces down. It's okay if the sides of the tortilla flare out on the plate. Use a silicone spatula to slide the inverted tortilla back into the pan and press down around sides to ensure a uniform shape.
Cook around 5 more minutes on the other side, before inverting onto a plate and serving warm, at room temperature, or refrigerated. Keep, well-wrapped, in the fridge up to a week.
Jeremy Scheck is the founder and editor-in-chief of Collegetown Kitchen and After School Bakery. He is a student at Cornell University in the class of 2022 studying Spanish, Italian, and nutrition. Aproveche, buon appetito and bon appétit!