Home cooking: Tortilla de patata

By Christine Gilbert, May 13, 2015

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Going to a picnic with Spaniards? Chances are they’ll all bring the same potluck item: an omelet.

Known as tortilla de patata in Spain, the Spanish egg dish has several ambiguous origin stories. Some think it was concocted by farmers’ wives made to spread out their thinning supply of food in the 1800s. Others claim General Tomás de Zumalacárregui invented it for his troops during a siege in the Carlist Wars. A further theory combines the two ideas to say a farm woman made it for Zumalacárregui when he showed up at her house late one night and, like a bad stereotype, demanded something to eat.

In any case, it became a great hit throughout Spain and continues to remain a beloved food there. Try it below for yourself and allow plenty of cooking time.



550g peeled potatoes

1 white onion

6 eggs

750g olive oil

Salt to taste



1) Dice peeled potatoes into 1-centimeter cubes. Immerse in water and let sit.

2) Dice white onion into 1-centimeter cubes.

3) Heat the diced potatoes, onions and olive oil over high heat until sizzling, then switch to low heat and braise the contents until soft.

4) Drain the softened potatoes and onions, and let sit for 10 minutes to cool.

5) Break the eggs into the potatoes and onions, and mix them gently with salt to taste.

6) Panfry the egg, onion and potato mixture in a 10-inch, thick-bottomed non-stick pan preheated with a little olive oil on low heat for about three minutes. When the bottom of the mixture is molded, flip the pan and empty the contents onto a 12-inch flat plate. Layer pan with a little olive oil and pour the tortilla quickly back into the pan.

7) Flatten the surface of the tortilla with a spatula, and shake the pan slightly to avoid sticking. Flip the tortilla to saute until both sides become golden. The tortilla is done when it does not fall apart at the press of a finger.

8) Slice the tortilla and serve.

// This recipe is courtesy of Chef Luis Lozana Rodriguez from Flamenco House Restaurant.

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