Spanish Potato Tortilla (Tortilla de Patatas)

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This classic Spanish Potato Tortilla (aka Tortilla de Patatas or Torta Espanola) is a lightened-up version made with thinly sliced potatoes, caramelized onions, eggs, and olive oil that can be served for tapas, breakfast, lunch or dinner.

This classic Spanish Potato Tortilla (aka Tortilla de Patatas or Torta Espanola) is a lightened-up version made with thinly sliced potatoes, caramelized onions, eggs, and olive oil that can be served for tapas, breakfast, lunch or dinner. #spanishtortilla #tortilladepatatas #tortaespanola

Life is very simple, but we insist on making it complicated. ~Confucious

What is a Spanish Potato Tortilla?

(By Silvia Sampere of Silvia Cooks).  Potato tortilla, or Tortilla de Patatas, is one of the most popular dishes of Spain. Although there are as many interpretations of this dish as there are people, Potato Tortilla is prepared quite similarly everywhere in the country. There is a slight division in the population (yes-onion and no-onion supporters), but most people will agree on one thing: the best potato tortilla is their mother’s. 

There is no clear proof of the origin of Potato Tortilla: some say it comes from the Galicia region (they pioneered the growing of potatoes), some say Extremadura, others Navarra… others say the potato tortilla originated in Belgium!

Although potatoes arrived to Spain from the Americas (or Indias, as they were called then) in 1573, this is a relatively recent recipe, becoming popular in the 19th century. People used to prepare it with pork lard instead of olive oil and, originally, onion was not part of it (now considered a must by many). When potatoes arrived, they were seen as a flavorless, bland ingredient, and only gained traction in the 18th century, when wheat was scarce and expensive. It is said this was, in part, thanks to an Irish man, named Henry Doyle, living in Madrid, who convinced the king at the time about the benefits of this precious, undervalued vegetable. 

5 simple Ingredients in Potato Tortilla:

  1. onions
  2. potatoes
  3. salt
  4. olive oil
  5. eggs

This classic Spanish Potato Tortilla (aka Tortilla de Patatas or Torta Espanola) is a lightened-up version made with thinly sliced potatoes, caramelized onions, eggs, and olive oil that can be served for tapas, breakfast, lunch or dinner. #spanishtortilla #tortilladepatatas #tortaespanola

How is Potato Tortilla typically served?

If you come to Spain, you will find potato tortillas in restaurants, bars and at homes. It is eaten as breakfast, aperitivo during weekends, at lunch or for dinner. We will prepare it on any given day and also for a special occasion. It can be eaten freshly made, at room temperature or cold, straight from the fridge. As a tapa, served with some olives, croquetas and bread with tomato spread; or as a main, enjoyed with a nice salad and maybe roasted chicken. 

Variations of Spanish Potato Tortilla: 

Some tortillas are thick and heavy, others are thin and light. You can make it so that it’s well-cooked and a little dry on the inside, or allow the eggs to cook only briefly, which makes it a little soft and wet.

The onions and potatoes are typically fried in a generous amount of olive oil, then poured into beaten eggs and finally fried on a pan, flipping it halfway and cooking it on both sides.

For this recipe though, we will take the basics and make it lighter, healthier and slightly more simple. Instead of deep-frying the vegetables, we will roast them until soft. This ensures a nice caramelization while keeping it lighter, by using less oil than usual.

par cook the potatoes and onions in an oven to soften.

How to make Potato Tortilla like a local:

  1. Type of potato: a white or yellow all-purpose or waxy variety will do. Any potatoes that are versatile and good for baking, ideally with low % of starch.
  2. How to cut the potato: you can chop the potato into relatively thin and equal slices, or slice it into irregular pieces so that some parts caramelize more than others.
  3. The fat:  I strongly recommend using a nice cooking olive oil (lighter color). Although its taste is sometimes considered strong, it is part of the tortilla flavor. Technically, you could use any type of cooking oil or even pork lard, like they used to in the old days.
  4. Add the salt to potatoes afterward, not before: this helps reduce the amount of water that the potatoes release during the roasting process. This is especially important when you fry any starchy ingredient and you’re looking for crunchiness (versus sogginess).
  5. Use Good eggs, lightly beaten: if possible, use high-quality free-range eggs and beat them only a little, no need to whisk them too much or too vigorously.
  6. Proportions: this is a personal choice, and it will determine how dry or soft the inside of your tortilla turns out. Here, we will be using approximately 1 large egg for 100g of potato.
  7. Let the ingredients hang out: before we fry the tortilla in a pan, let the onions and potatoes hang out and rest in the beaten eggs first for a few mins.
  8. Pan temperature and time: getting a hang of this usually comes with time, like so many other things. The first few times, I recommend heating the pan at medium-high heat, then cooking the tortilla at low heat, to avoid burning or overcooking it. With practice, you can keep the heat at medium then gradually lower it.

It starts by roasting the potatoes and onions in the oven. Let cool and mix with the whisked eggs and salt.

whisk the eggs and add to the bowl

Pour this into an 8-9 inch, oiled, non-stick skillet (easiest for flipping).

cook the Spanish tortilla in a NON-STICK 8- 9-inch skilletThis is the tricky step, we don’t want the tortilla to undercook or overcook! Attention is key here. If your pan is slightly wider that’s OK too, the tortilla will be a little thinner and take less time to cook.

When the pan is hot, set the heat to low. Pour the mixture into it, this will only take a few mins. Use a flexible spatula to check if the sides are cooked. Similar to pancakes, we want to wait until the edges are cooked before flipping. The exact time will depend on the pan and stove.

Flip the tortilla placing a plate over the skilletOnce you’re able to slide the spatula along the side of the tortilla, place a flat plate on top of the pan. Check that it doesn’t easily slide when you place it on top, otherwise flipping the pan might be a little more difficult (and messy!).

Invert on the plate and slice back in into the skillet

Flip the tortilla, then slide it into the pan and cook the other side.

how to flip the Spanish tortilla Return the pan to the stove, carefully slide the half-cooked tortilla back into the pan. Let it fry for 1-2 mins (you can lower the heat too if you feel it’s too hot). 

Turn off the heat, place a clean plate on top of the pan and flip the tortilla on it, like you did before.

serve on a plate. Listo! You have a Spanish tortilla in your hands!

This classic Spanish Potato Tortilla (aka Tortilla de Patatas or Torta Espanola) is a lightened-up version made with thinly sliced potatoes, caramelized onions, eggs, and olive oil that can be served for tapas, breakfast, lunch or dinner. #spanishtortilla #tortilladepatatas #tortaespanola

Enjoy this lovely Spanish Potato Tortilla brought to straight from Spain from Spanish blogger, Silvia from Silvia Cooks

Other Spanish recipes you may like:

 

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This classic Spanish Potato Tortilla (aka Tortilla de Patatas or Torta Espanola) is a lightened-up version made with thinly sliced potatoes, caramelized onions, eggs, and olive oil that can be served for tapas, breakfast, lunch or dinner. #spanishtortilla #tortilladepatatas #tortaespanola

Spanish Potato Tortilla (Tortilla de Patatas)


  • Author:
    Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home

  • Prep Time:
    20

  • Cook Time:
    50

  • Total Time:
    1 hour 10 minutes

  • Yield:
    4

  • Category:
    main, appetizer,

  • Method:
    stovetop

  • Cuisine:
    spanish

  • Diet:
    Vegetarian

Description

This classic Spanish Potato Tortilla (aka Tortilla de Patatas or Torta Espanola) is a lightened-up version made with thinly sliced potatoes, caramelized onions, eggs, and olive oil that can be served for tapas, breakfast, lunch or dinner.


  • 11 1/4 lbs (400 grams, about 34 medium potatoes)
  • 1 yellow or white onion (150-200 grams) 
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400-425ºF (200-220ºC)

Slice the onions in half, remove the outer layer and chop into half-moons. Place in a medium-sized baking tray, add 1 tbsp olive oil and ½ tsp salt and mix well until onions are coated. Bake for 15 mins, you can mix them halfway through.

Meanwhile, peel and slice the potatoes in half, lengthwise. Roughly chop each half into pieces, no need to be precise here, as we want potatoes to be cooked, while some parts caramelize a bit more. 

Once the onions have cooked for 15 mins, add the potatoes to the tray, along with 1 tbsp of olive oil. Mix well and bake for another 15-20 mins, or until the potatoes are soft.

Lightly whisk the eggs in a big bowl, add the vegetables and mix. Let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes, while you heat up the pan.

Choose a non-stick pan, about 22-25cm (8.5-10 inches) wide. Set it to medium-high heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil.

This is the tricky step, we don’t want the tortilla to under- or overcook! Attention is key here. If your pan is slightly wider that’s OK too, the tortilla will be a little thinner and take less time to cook.

When the pan is hot, set the heat to low. Pour the mixture into it, this will only take a few mins. Use a flexible spatula to check if the sides are cooked. Similar to pancakes, we want to wait until the edges are cooked before flipping. The exact time will depend on the pan and stove.

Once you’re able to slide the spatula along the side of the tortilla, place a flat plate on top of the pan. Check that it doesn’t easily slide when you place it on top, otherwise flipping the pan might be a little more difficult (and messy!).

Use your weak hand to hold the pan handle and use your dominant hand to press the plate against the pan – then flip the omelette onto the plate. If you’re using a small plate, wrap a kitchen towel around the hand that is holding the pan handle.

Return the pan to the stove, carefully slide the half-cooked tortilla back into the pan. Let it fry for 1-2 mins (you can lower the heat too if you feel it’s too hot). 

Turn off the heat, place a clean plate on top of the pan and flip the tortilla on it, like you did before. 

Listo! You have a Spanish tortilla in your hands.

 

Notes

  • To make a vegan version of tortilla, substitute the eggs for garbanzo bean flour + water batter. For each egg, mix 1 tbsp gram flour + 2 tbsp water, approx. The consistency should be similar to whisked egg, slightly thicker.
  • Enjoy warm and freshly fried, or room temp.  Store in the fridge for up to 3 days. After that, you can eat it cold straight from the fridge (very tasty too) or reheat it in the microwave until it’s room temperature.

Keywords: spanish tortilla, potato tortilla, spanish potato tortilla, Tortilla de Patatas, tortilla española,





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