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Tortilla Española Recipe

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Tortilla Española Recipe

"Tortilla" is a Spanish word that literally means something like "little cake". In México, this is refers to a sort of corn pancake. In Spain, a tortilla is a potato-and-egg omelet, and a staple food. This recipe was adapted from several sources, including Penelope Casas's classic, The Foods and Wines of Spain. I fiddled with it to make it work a little better in my kitchen. You may have to fiddle with it to make it work in yours.

I'm not sure how Spaniards did this without a non-stick frying pan. The proportions here are designed to work in an 8 inch wide non-stick pan -- any bigger, and the tortilla is liable to fall apart, any smaller, and there's no body to the result.

This recipe does sound a bit fussy and time-intensive, but believe me, it's worth the effort!


  • eggs, 6
  • milk, 1/3 cup
  • potatoes, medium-sized, 6 ounces' worth
  • onion, medium-sized, 1
  • fresh sage leaves, a fistful
  • garlic, 3 or 4 cloves
  • paprika, 1/2 teaspooon
  • olive oil
  • (optional) shallots, 2 or 3


  1. Mince the garlic and shallots. Tear the sage leaves into large pieces. Dice the onions and slice the potatoes into small thin slices or cubes.
  2. Heat the frying pan over medium heat and drizzle a lot of olive oil into the pan. Toss in the garlic and shallots for a few seconds, then add the sage and onions and potatoes. Stir around and make sure there's enough olive oil to coat the potatoes.
  3. Turn down the heat a little bit and cover the mixture to let it steam a bit. Cook on low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes start to turn soft (you do not want the potatoes to brown much). Check periodically.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, beat the eggs until moderately mixed. Add the milk and paprika and beat again.
  5. Take the potato-onion mixture off the heat and mix with the cold eggs. Allow the mix to stand for about 5 minutes.
  6. Pour the mix back to the frying pan at low-medium heat. Allow it to set for about 2-3 minutes.
  7. Use a flat spatula to try to detach the edges of the tortilla from the frying pan. Let the tortilla cook until it is mostly set, and can easily be moved around in the frying pan (usually takes 10-15 minutes).
  8. Turn the tortilla using a large dinner plate (this can be a little messy), and put back into the pan, uncooked side down.
  9. Allow this to set for 2-3 minutes. Set an oven to 250 degrees.
  10. Throw the tortilla, frying pan and all, into the oven and let it sit at 250 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.
This tortilla can be served hot or cold, usually in pie-shaped wedges. Makes about 8 servings.

There are also an infinite number of variations on this basic recipe. Take out one potato and add, say, four chopped sticks of asparagus, or a handful of shrimp or mussels, or whatever other ingredients strike your fancy! Most ingredients can probably be mixed in raw with the eggs; only things that need significant softening should cook with the potatoes.

Dr. Jimbob's Home -> Coooking -> Tortilla Española Recipe

Last updated: August 18, 2003 by James C.S. Liu

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