Tortilla Espanola

We are sharing our family recipe of the famous Tortilla Espanola or Spanish Tortilla. Whilst walking the Camino de Santiago you can find this traditional dish at any establishment and presented in numerous variations. You can find the tortilla on its own, with chorizo, in-between bread, under fried peppers…the options are endless! However, you order your Tortilla, we are sure you are going to love this simple dish.

It is thought that the concept originated in Persia and moved West, entering many cultures that made it their own. In Persia the dish is called Kookoo Sabzi; in Italy it became the Frittata; and in our neighbouring country France it is named (what we know it as) the Omelette.
It is not clear how the Tortilla became so widely eaten in Spain. Most take on the belief that when a General of the Spanish Army visited a local home during the First Carlist War, fought between 1833-1839, a poor Navarre housewife scrambled together the dish as all she had was eggs, potatoes and onion. Others take on the belief that is was actually General Tomas Zumalacarregui who invented the Tortilla as it was a simple and fast nutritious meal to serve his troops.
However it came about, it has spread throughout the entire country and we love it!
The recipe below is straight from the kitchen of Vanessa’s mother, Mayra, who has perfected the dish. Although simple in ingredients, the technique of flipping the tortilla is always a task of self-pride.
6 Russet Potatoes
6 eggs
1 tablespoon salt
healthy amount of olive oil
1 small onion (optional)
chorizo and/or peppers (optional)
  • Peel potatoes and cut into slivers about 1/4 inch thick. Chop onion.In a round frying pan, heat a large amount of olive oil (enough to cover the potatoes) and deep fry the potatoes and onion until tender.*Add chorizo and/or peppers if desired.
  • Beat the eggs with salt.
  • When the potatoes and onion are tender, drain excess oil leaving just a thin coat of oil in the pan to prevent sticking. Allow the potatoes and onion to cool slightly.
  • Combine the cooled potatoes and onion with the egg mixture. Pour back in to the pan and cook on medium heat while shaking the pan to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom. Cook until you see the sides begin to turn golden.
  • Now comes the challenge part – the flipping! If you have a tortilla pan, this part is easy. If you don’t you will want to try the typical Spanish method of flipping. Place a plate, slightly bigger then the frying pan, on top of the frying pan. Place your dominate hand on top of the plate and do a quick flip. The Tortilla should now be on your plate with the cooked side up. Carefully slide the Tortilla back into the frying pan to cook the other side.
  • The Tortilla will be done once the egg is cooked. This time depends if you prefer a runny inside or a  hard inside. Once you have trialled your Tortilla a few times, you will learn the exact timing for you and your loved ones. It is hard to give an exact time as it is due to personal preference.
We hope  you enjoy making your own Spanish Tortilla at home. When you arrive to Santiago de Compostela, we are happy to share our favourite bars that serve the best Spanish Tortilla!
Spanish Tortilla – A Tapas Favorite. (n.d.). Retrieved February 13, 2017, from
The Mysterious History of the Tortilla de Patatas. (2014, August 28). Retrieved February 13, 2017, from

Ashleigh Mell

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