You can’t talk about Spanish food without mentioning these bad boys! I’m ashamed to say I didn’t discover them properly until only a few years ago but I am over the moon that my girlfriend introduced me to there moreish goodness, I can’t get enough of them now! In England they are known as the Spanish omelette, but as we know the omelette as a scrambled mainly egg mixture, when I was told the Spanish omelette has potato in it I had a completely different picture in my head than to what it really is and having never been to Spain at this point I was pretty uneducated. I envisioned a part scrambled mess with a few potatoes dotted through it and it was definitely not appealing to me, in fact I don’t think I ever tried one let alone wanted too!
When I met my girlfriend who is for Jerez in Andalusia, she came around to my flat and knocked up my first ever Tortilla, it was completely different to what I had envisioned. Out came this perfect UFO shaped inch or so deep disc of potato held together by beaten egg. The potatoes were perfectly cooked, not too hard but not so soft they fell apart and they were held together by the egg mix we are familiar with to create the omelette which had turned the familiar golden colour around the edges that omelette’s usually do. The big difference between the Tortilla and other omelettes is that because it is so thick, picture a frying pan practically filled to the rim with potato and egg, it needs to be cooked slowly to allow it to cook through and to make sure it does not burn. Other omelettes though are usually cooked with a bit of aggression over a fast flame and knocked about every now and then with a spatula. The key to the Tortilla is to let it chill, it needs to sit there on a low flame doing it’s thing until you flip it and do the same on the other side.
You don’t have to leave it at potato though, you can add loads of flavours of your choice to go alongside the Potato and Egg. My girlfriend likes to add fried Onions or Garlic, I like to had crispy Bacon or Olives and cheese. You can even replace the Potato completely with another veg like a Courgette, or Butternut squash, anything you want basically, get adventurous!
Another great thing about Tortilla’s is that they are amazing in a sandwich. In Spain it’s very common to find tortilla sandwiches and I love them, to me they are Spain’s version of the chip butty! A bit naughty to eat but bloody lovely.
Below is a picture of a real Spanish tortilla I shared with my girlfriend at Cadiz fish market. If you ever get the chance to visit Cadiz fish market I highly recommend it, in the centre in the hustle and bustle of the market itself that you will miss unless you get there nice and early. Around the outer walls of the market though was my favourite part, stall after stall of food vendors, this was completely authentic cultural street food and I am a sucker for all of that! This tortilla was amazing, nice and runny in the centre and it had cooked until they were soft red Peppers and pieces of Chorizo with a chunk of bread to mop up the mess with!
Serves 8 – Takes 45 minutes
- 1kg Potatoes
- 6 whole eggs beaten
- Salt & Pepper
- Oil for deep frying
I am just giving you the recipe to a basic Tortilla, it’s a blank canvas for you to leave as it is or to add your own character too.
The traditional way to do this is to deep fry the Potato before adding it to the Egg mixture but if you are not able to it is possible to par boil them and gently roast the Potato until golden.
Peel the potatoes and dice them into a little over 1cm squares. They are now ready to be fried, it is important to do this on a low heat because we want to penetrate the potato whilst cooking so that it is completely soft throughout but only just coloured very gently around the outside!
Beat your Eggs in a bowl and add seasoning. Once the Potatoes have cooled down add them to the Egg mixture and mix well.
Get the best non stick large frying pan you have, make sure it is very very clean with no rough edges for the Tortilla to stick too. Add a splash of oil and stick the pan on a low flame, after leaving the pan for a couple of minutes to heat up, add the Tortilla mix to the pan, it will look like a lot and almost reach the rim of the pan. Leave the Tortilla mix in the pan for around 5 – 8 minutes(depending on how runny you want it), giving it a slight shake here and there to make sure it’s not sticking. Take a spatula and gently run it around the rim of the pan, you should see a nice golden colour, it’s time to flip! Take a large plate and place it on top of the frying pan, flip the pan upside down so that the Tortilla lands on the plate, this will more than likely make a mess with some of the uncooked side of the Egg spilling out. Slide the Tortilla runny mixture side down back into the pan and repeat the same cooking method.
Remove the tortilla from the pan and place on a plate to cool down like the ones in the picture below.
Cut a healthy wedge off and get stuck in. Remember to give it a blast in a baguette, it’s something special!