A Slice Of Spain: The Spanish Tortilla | The Spice Girl Blog

Spanish Tortilla

Bullfights, flamenco, and the Spanish tortilla are to Spain as baseball, armed weapons, and hamburgers are to America. Bold statement, right? I'm just trying to say that the Spanish tortilla can be enjoyed throughout Spain just as the hamburger can be obtained in any city in America. However, bullfights, flamenco, baseball, and weapons are stereotypes each respective country has for the other that can certainly be found in regions, but are not as prevalent in every city like we imagine. 

So, in an attempt to tell the tales of what is more representative of Spain to me than flamenco or bulls, I present to you the La Tortilla de Patatas, as taught to me in the Basque Country of Northern Spain. The Spanish tortilla boasts a complex favor introduced by just five humble ingredients. 

Spanish Tortilla
Serves 2-4
Olive Oil
2 Medium Russet Potatoes
1/2 White Onion
4-6 Large Eggs
Salt

1. Heat 1-2 cups olive oil over medium heat in a nonstick pan.
2. Peel and cut onion into 1/4'' pieces. 
3. Peel and wash potatoes. Half potatoes length-wise and thinly slice into 1/8" or transparent pieces.
I enjoy having potatoes and onions of differing shapes and lengths, so I don't stress too much about keeping shape consistent. However, having a uniform thinness is important.
4. Salt the potatoes.
Have you ever had under-salted mashed potatoes or fries? They are the worst. So, when salting these two potatoes, a pinch will not suffice. You will have a final chance before finishing the tortilla to check salt levels, but I like having a salty base.
What you have so far should look something like this: 

 Note that you can see through the potatoes, I try to achieve that thinness each cut.

Note that you can see through the potatoes, I try to achieve that thinness each cut.

5. Add onions to olive oil, let simmer for 5 minutes or until onions are aromatic and begin to soften.
6. Add salted, sliced potatoes to onion and oil mixture. 

At this time, I like to raise the heat to a touch above medium heat. Stirring occasionally and ensuring the bottom is not burning, I leave the oil, potatoes, and onion here for around 20 minutes, until potatoes are golden and soft. This step requires the most patience, but also the least amount of effort. I usually turn my attention to making a salad, grabbing a beverage, fixing a spicy aioli to accompany the tortilla, or washing dishes. 

 Mixture at the beginning of step 6

Mixture at the beginning of step 6

 Mixture at the end of this step. Golden, crispy potatoes.

Mixture at the end of this step. Golden, crispy potatoes.

7. After potatoes are golden, remove onions and potatoes from oil with a slotted spoon and place in a mixing bowl.
I always take this moment to check the saltiness of the potatoes. They should be slightly over-salted because you're about to add unseasoned eggs.
8. Set oil aside to cool, strain and reserve in a jar in the fridge for future tortillas.
9. Beat 4-6 eggs and add to potatoes mixing contents thoroughly. 

The mixture can sit here for a bit if the table needs to be set, other parts of dinner are not yet ready, or dishes need to be cleaned (clean as you go, people). In addition, anything can be added at this time if preferred. Serrano ham, green and red peppers, or spinach are all delicious options. However, I have recently been sticking to the classic potato-onion combination. 
10. Heat 8'' non-stick pan to medium-high heat. Pour mixture into the pan. 
11. Wait 10-20 seconds, and begin to move pan, seeing that the egg has set and edges are white. 

Free any edges that may be stuck to the pan with a spatula or wooden spoon.
12. Set an inverted plate on top of the pan, and flip! Set the pan back on the stove and slide the tortilla cooked side up from the plate to the pan.
This step only fails if you are scared of it. Ensure tight grips on both the plate and pan, and "f-flip it real good". 
13. Cook 10-20 more seconds. Repeat step 12 if a more golden crust is preferred.
Or if you like a more cooked middle, repeat step 12. I like my tortillas to be pretty custardy in the middle so I only do step 12 once. 
14. Serve and enjoy!

Tortilla Espanola