A Taste of Spain


There are some things that have the power to take you back to a time and place, where memories collide in a rush of images – and you get to experience a moment all over again. Sometimes, it’s a song, the words of which bring a smile, a laugh, or tears. Sometimes, it’s a de ja vu moment, jarring and powerful. For many, myself included, it’s the smell of something simmering on the stove, of scents so strong they transport you.

tortilla espanola

One of my best travel memories is of a summer I spent in Spain, taking Spanish classes and living with a Spanish family. My Spanish “mom” served up some interesting foods – rabbit (which I mistook for stringy chicken), croquettas, queso manchego, and my personal favorite, Tortilla Espanola.

Living in California, the term “tortilla” is what we use to describe either a flour- or corn-based flatbread used to hold beans, fish, chicken, beef (and other ingredients) for a burrito or taco. In Spain, it has a much different meaning. Tortilla Espanola refers to a potato and egg omelet. Sounds pretty simple, right? Even ordinary. But magic happens when you create Tortilla Espanola. Aromatic, savory, delicious magic that I hope you’ll enjoy as much as I do.

Tortilla Espanola
4 large eggs
Sea salt, to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil (Don’t skimp on the oil, or your tortilla will stick to the pan.)
3 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1 onion peeled and very finely chopped

• Crack the eggs into a bowl. Whisk with a fork and add a pinch of salt.
• Heat oil in a frying pan; add the potato and fry for a few minutes. Add the onion and mash together.
• When the potato/onion mash mixture begins to brown, add the eggs, fully submerging the potato/onions with eggs. (You can poke the potato mixture to allow some of the egg to seep in.)
• Fry gently on low heat. While cooking, shake the pan to loosen the tortilla, and tidy the edges with a rubber scraper.
• As the egg sets (middle might still be a bit gooey), place a plate over the pan so that it covers the pan, and then flip the tortilla over onto the plate and slide the tortilla back into the pan to cook the other side.
• Shake the pan lightly so the tortilla does not stick to the bottom.
• Once it feels firm on the edges and soft (but cooked) in the middle, slide the tortilla onto a clean plate.

I often serve this with olives, olive tapenade or salsa.

Recipe adapted from

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