Tortilla de Patata

…and it’s Fight Back Friday!

Some of the best meals I’ve eaten I’ve had when I was in Spain.

My first trip there in 2002 John and I were completely wowed by the full flavor, the richness, the integrity of nearly every bite we took – of everything! How, we wondered, could the tomatoes taste so tomatoey? Or the melons more meloney? The layers of simple dishes were so robust! Vegetables seemed – I don’t know – less bitter? It took us a while – but eventually we were sitting and enjoying a meal one day when it dawned on us.

They harvest stuff when it’s ripe.

They’re using local produce – it hasn’t been picked green, trucked hundreds or thousands of miles, gassed to promote the appearance of a ripe product, or any of that kind of nonsense.

The difference was staggering.

And pretty much – from then forward we were hooked on sustainable, organic, local.

Here’s the thing – once you are exposed to “the good stuff” you never want to go back.

So why should you?

We decided we didn’t have to.

I don’t remember which trip to Spain it was that I fell in love with the Tortilla de Patata – but it changed my life, too. You can get Tortilla – as the locals call it – pretty much everywhere. Some of it’s okay. Some of it’s downright kinda grody. But others – oh my – you can hear the hallelujah chorus kicking into high gear as you take the first luscious bite. And I should warn you – you’ll find it by different names in different regions of Spain – and it WILL be different in form and function in different regions, as well. The one I love is from the Alicante province – up in the hills where they speak Valenciano. This, my friends, is the way Tortilla was meant to be!

 Tortilla de Patata

1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, thinly sliced
1 medium Walla Walla or Vidalia sweet onion, thinly sliced (into rings or julienned)
6 large Eggs
1 cup Heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 350° F.

  1. In a heavy skillet, heat about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Brown sliced potatoes until golden on both sides. Set aside onto a paper towel lined plate.
  2. After potatoes have all been sautéed, add thinly sliced onion to the pan, adding more olive oil if needed. Sauté onions until just browned and caramelized. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate.
  3. In a generously sized glass pie plate (depth is important here – go for the deep dish model!) layer potatoes and onions.
  4. In a separate bowl, using a wire whisk or hand mixer with whisk attachment, mix eggs, whipping cream, and kosher salt together, making sure to mix ingredients completely.
  5. Pour egg mixture slowly into the pie plate – you can use a large spoon to divert the flow so as not to disturb your layering.
  6. Place the pie plate on a cookie sheet in the oven. Here’s the tricky part – it will take about 30 minutes to cook. Check for doneness by shaking the pie plate slightly to see if egg has set completely. If it’s not set – give it another 5 minutes. A sharp knife will come out of the center of the tortilla clean if it’s set completely.
  7. Allow to cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before serving.


When I have this is Spain, my favorite places to order it serve with thinly sliced wedges of cheese – Manchego, Mahon, or my very favorite – Trouchoú. And of course, pretty much every Spanish meal comes with a lovely little crusty roll and olive oil to dip your bread in. J I, of course, ask for the fabulous local butter!

It is traditional to find Tortilla de Patata listed on menus in the region of Spain that I travel to most often – either with or without onions – there’s no assumption you’ll prefer it one way or the other. If you prefer no onions – just skip that part!

3 thoughts on “Tortilla de Patata

  1. OH MY GOD THIS IS CHEATING! You have to cook the thing on the stovetop then flip it into a plate with giant Spanish mamasita arms then back into the same pan. Really, oven is cheating but yes this is all over Spain and I’ve learned to make this regularly for my Spanish wife. Use real eggs from real chickens and raw milk and you’re pretty close to Spain.

    • Cristobal, you’re absolutely correct! This is totally cheating! But I don’t have those giant Spanish mamasita arms, so I do it in the oven! LOL!

      I have a friend who is a cook at a small hospital in Alcoy – she’s the one who told me to “cheat” and cook it in the oven – she eyed me with skepticism when she was trying to explain to me how to cook it. Plus – I don’t know that I could keep the kind of supply of olive oil on hand that it requires (like a couple of cups of it?) to cook it the way she does – nearly deep fried!

      And yes – we have chickens in the backyard – and if the eggs aren’t fresh – why bother?!

      Thanks for coming by!

  2. Pingback: Eggstraordinary! « Known By Name

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