Tortilla (Spanish Omelette)

24 Jan

It’s a chilly grey old day today, unusual for here, but expected on some days in January (last week was boiling!).  Lots of us in January are tightening our belts but this doesn’t mean that food has to be less delicious – I am notoriously extravagant where food is concerned but obviously there are fantastic inexpensive ingredients where taste is not compromised.  One of my favourites and really good at any time of year is Potato Tortilla.  In the winter eat it hot with sausage or a pork chop, in summer just with a delicious salad.  Anyhow, when you come in from work on a cold night and want something quick but comforting, try this – you will make it again and again – it is so easy – children love it too and you can add peas, sweetcorn or shrimp, or anything you like really.  If you have a mandolin for slicing the potatoes so much the better as it takes no time at all and if you don’t just enlist some help for slicing onions and potatoes!  You find Tortilla absolutely everywhere in Spain in tapas bars but no-one I know apart from my friend Sonya, who used to live in Spain, makes it at home in the UK.


You will need


A medium sized saucepan filled a third with olive oil

4 large potatoes peeled and sliced as thinly as you can – about

a eighth of an inch

1 large onion, Spanish of course

Maldon sea salt and black pepper

4 large eggs


Heat the olive oil gently and add your slices of potato and onion alternating the two.  You don’t want the oil really hot, rather you want the vegetables to “boil” rather than fry. Just keep an eye on them and lift and turn them over from time to time – you just want them tender, not coloured.  Prod with a cocktail stick to make sure there is no crunch left in the potatoes!  Drain in a colander, reserving a few tablespoons of the oil and put to one side.  You can use the left over oil to cook something savoury in as it has a wonderful onion flavour.

Take a good omelette pan – not too large as you are going to be turning over the hot potato cake several times so it needs to be manageable.  It needs to be a decent depth though – at least an inch and a half.


Separately, in a large mixing bowl beat the eggs until they are a little foamy. Season with salt and pepper.  Add the potato and onions and leave for 10 minutes.  Heat a tablespoon of oil and let it get really hot and then add your potatoes, onion and egg, spreading it quickly so it fills the pan.  Lower the heat and just gently shake the pan so that it doesn’t stick.  When it looks like the eggs are starting to set on the top, place a slightly larger plate over the pan and quickly turn over.  Add a little more oil to the pan and slide the tortilla back in to brown on the other side.  The second turning will be easier – repeat a few times just gently shaking the pan, that way you get a lovely round, golden tortilla.  Each time you make this, you will get better at it.  Just keep the heat lowish and that way it will cook through without burning the outside.


As said, add things to it if you wish – sometimes I slice up chorizo and put half the egg mixture in the pan, put the slices of chorizo on top and then cover again with potato – it is fantastic.  You can just eat it on its own with vegetables or salad, as you have the protein of the eggs with the carbs of the spuds, so really you don’t need much else.  And it is cheap as chips!


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