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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Tortilla Española (Spanish Omelet) #FoodieExtravaganza

Tortilla Española is a traditional dish in Spain prepared from potatoes, onion and eggs. In English, the dish translates to Spanish Omelette and is sometimes referred to simply as Tortilla.

In traditional Tortilla Española, potatoes and onions are poached in olive oil. I decided it was crazy to use such a method for a couple of reasons. First, I am not exactly a fan of deep fat frying and this seems pretty darn close. Second, I can't imaging 'wasting' this much olive oil. Once the potatoes and onions are poached, the oil is no longer needed. Most of the information I found on 
Tortilla Española suggested holding the olive oil for another use. Seriously? There is enough stuff in my over-crowded refrigerator. I don't need a container of used olive oil to sit there only to be thrown out in 6 months.

I decided to set of on my first Tortilla Española expedition with boiling the potatoes, then slicing. And the onions - my choice was to sauté. The potatoes and onion were added to beaten eggs, poured into a skillet to cook and then finished under the broiler.  

To characterize my initial experiment as 'meh' would be complimentary. The potatoes were not good, the egg was over-cooked on the bottom and there was a layer of uncooked egg at the top. How is it possible to have over-cooked AND under-cooked in the same dish?!?!

Fortunately, I had enough time for a do-over.

Being Californian, I wrestled with myself about adding something to make the omelette more interesting like adding green chilies or paprika or even both. In the end, I decided that adding a Mexican style to a traditional Spanish dish may not be such a good idea and finally embraced the idea of poaching 
the potatoes and onions in olive oil (light, not extra virgin). To solve the under-cooked egg, I flipped the Tortilla Española onto a large plate and then slid back into the skilled to cook through. 

The result was a very tasty Tortilla Española! I will be making this again for tapas night!


  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced thin (1/8 - 1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 17 oz (500 ml) light olive oil
  • 8 eggs, beaten
  • Salt, to suit personal preference
  • Pepper, to suit personal preference


  1. Heat olive oil in saucepan.  Add potatoes and onions, making sure they are completely immersed in the oil (it may take two batches). Poach on low heat until tender (approximately 30 minutes). Remove potatoes and onions from oil with slotted spoon.
  2. Combine poached potatoes and onion with beaten eggs. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the residual olive oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add egg mixture and reduce heat to low. Cook until very well set, approximately 12 -14 minutes.
  4. Carefully flip omelette onto a large plate and slide back into the skillet. Cook over low heat until done, approximately 10-12 additional minutes. 
  5. Flip omelette onto serving plate. Serve at room temperature. 


Foodie Extravaganza is where bloggers come together and celebrate food holidays. Did you know there is at least one food assigned to each day of the year to celebrate that food? Kathleen from Fearlessly Creative Mammas is our host this month and since she is from Idaho, she picked potatoes. All of the recipes will feature potatoes in one form or another. Posting day is always the first Wednesday of the month. If you are a blogger and you're interested in joining in the fun, visit us at our Facebook Foodie Extravaganza page. You can also visit our past party submissions on our Pinterest Foodie Extravaganza board

We hope you will enjoy the recipes we are sharing this month. The potato is so versatile that we've come up with a huge variety of recipes for you to try:


Carlee said...

I have often thought about making a Spanish tortilla, but have always shied away for that same reason. It seems like a lot of oil. But, it is fun to know that it is necessary to make it and trying to skirt that step doesn't work. One of these days I am just going to have to go for it!

A Day in the Life on the Farm said...

I think this sounds delicious. Some recipes you can lighten up and others you just need to enjoy. Thanks for experimenting and letting us know that this is one to just go for and enjoy.

Rebekah said...

I have never even heard of poaching in oil before - sounds like a very interesting culinary experiment; thank you for sharing!!

Stacy Rushton said...

Now, see how ignorant I am! I never knew about the poaching in oil and just make my tortilla much like a thick omelet, either sliding it out and flipping it to cook the other side as you did or putting the whole pan under the broiler in the oven to finish. However you made it, the important thing is that is was delicious! It sure looks perfect!

Terri Steffes said...

My family loves this dish at a local restaurant and could not replicate it for nothing! Now, I can surprise my family! Thanks for sharing!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

This is one recipe I still haven't attempted but it sounds so delicious! Glad you second attempt was a winner!

Unknown said...

I use the broiler trick for recipes, too. I love potatoes and eggs together, yum!

Tara said...

Tortilla has been on my bucket list too. Glad your second attempt turned out so well. It looks delicious!

Unknown said...

One of my dad's cousins brings this to our family reunion every year and it's always a hit. Now I have the recipe! ;)

Unknown said...

I poach fish all the time. Low heat long poaching time. Keeps the fish tender and juicy. Never tried poaching potatoes in oil before much less onions.

I'll probably give this a try. I'll substitute out the onions due to a food allergy and probably add some crumbled sausage to replace the flavor.

"A day without meat is like a, well, a day with out meat."

Gloria Baker said...

Delicious! I love spanish tortilla!

Gloria Baker said...

Delicious! I love spanish tortilla!

Lavender and Lime ( said...

I have only made the Italian version where you don't need to poach the potatoes first. I would have to have a lot of things to confit to make good use of the olive oil. Lovely recipe :)

Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen said...

This Spanish tortilla looks way too delicious, Cali! Super YUM!

Tricia @ Saving room for dessert said...

So interesting Cali! I could eat that everyday and it seems to me this would be a great "camping" meal. Now I am craving eggs and potatoes ... and onions!

Linda said...

It looks delicious! :)

Pam said...

Yum! I love, love, love this recipe!

Unknown said...

delicious! I think I had a spanish omelette only once and that was long back! need to make it again!

Natalie @ Obsessive Cooking Disorder said...

Mnnnn, I love Spanish food. I think it's so much tasteier than the heavy Tex-Mex we have here. Why poach them in light (rather than extra virgin) olive oil? I've never bought any kind of olive oil other than extra virgin cause I want the first press/ strongest olive essence!

Cocoa and Lavender said...

I am so glad you went with the poaching in oil. My first thought (as I started reading) was, "Well, I would just boil the potatoes." Thank you for keeping me from making that mistake - it is good to know that it is worth the effort (and olive oil) to make this work. It is quite beautiful - and looks just like the one (perhaps better!) that I get at our local tapas restaurant.

Kathleen said...

I love all those things! This sounds so good. I agree with you and wouldn't want to waste all the olive oil. Too expensive.

plasterers bristol said...

Mmm this is yummy. Top marks for this recipe. Thanks for sharing.


Laura@ Baking in Pyjamas said...

Yum, this looks great. I can imagine this would go wonderfully with a tasty dipping sauce.

Kelster said...

I love tortillas! I've always pretended to make it at home - tossing some ingredients together. I knew it was not the same but never knew I was missing a very vital step - poaching in olive oil.