Food

Spanish Tortilla

This month, we’re featuring easy picnic recipes. First up, Tara and Liza from Wild Apple share this amazing tortilla with potatoes and asparagus. It’s a cinch to make and packs up beautifully. Here’s how to make one of your own…

Tortilla Española
By Tara Donne and Liza Jernow from Wild Apple

This hearty tortilla is great warm just out of the oven, but equally tasty at room temperature. For a picnic, it travels well and is so easy to serve. We’ve added some spring charm to the Spanish classic with the addition of garlic and asparagus—which is particularly wonderful and in season right now.

If you own one, an ovenproof non-stick skillet will be your friend in this recipe.

Recipe: Tortilla Española

You’ll need:
2 large gold fleshed potatoes, peeled and cut to 1/8th-inch thick half moons
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 large eggs
1 clove garlic
1/4 lb. thin asparagus, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp. finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tsp. fine sea salt

Heat the oven to 450F. Heat the oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over medium low. Add the potatoes and onion, cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook five minutes more, until potatoes are cooked through but not browned. Strain the mixture in a colander, reserving the oil.

Return the pan to the stove. Add 3 tbsp. of the reserved oil and the potato mixture. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, add the asparagus, herbs and salt, then pour into the pan. Let the mixture settle a bit on the bottom, then gently shake the pan to release the eggs from the bottom. Run a heatproof spatula around the edge of the pan to release the tortilla from the sides.

Once the bottom is set and the sides begin to set but the center is still wet (about eight minutes) place the pan in the oven. Watch it closely. You want it just cooked, the surface dry but not browned. Remove from oven and invert onto a serving dish or cutting board. If you are bring this dish to a picnic, let it cool completely before wrapping it up.

Thank you so much, Tara and Liza!

P.S. More best recipes, including a French picnic dish and guacamole.

(Photos by Tara Donne. Recipe and food styling by Liza Jernow. Thanks to Caroline Donofrio for helping with this series.)

  1. A few years late but just made this for friends visiting town. Aside from my husband’s clean-up duty of the cast iron skillet – he’s still grumbling over it a bit :) – it was a huge hit and perfect recipe for the coming of spring.

  2. healty food

  3. That’s not spanish tortilla! D:

    ¡Eso no es tortilla española!

    love and kisses,
    a spanish girl <3

  4. I made this yesterday and loved it! Such good recipes on this site.

  5. Hi, tanks for the answer!

  6. Any sort of estimate on how long it should stay in the oven? I feel like I always take things out too early or too late, even when I’m watching them like a hawk. (Or rather, is there any more concrete indicator of when it’s done?)

  7. Another picnic idea is to use wide strips of of the “Spanish Tortilla” on a cut roll or piece of French or Italian bread (good, sturdy bread) with a dollop of aioli. Wrap in wax paper and bring to the beach. It stands up to travel beautifully.

  8. Hello From Spain!!
    As so many others tell you, that is not exactly spanish tortilla, but i love the mix of asparagus that you put on it.
    Of course im going to try it, but in the pan, instead in the oven, and with the potatoes slow cooking with much oil.

    Great Recipe!!!

  9. In Spain we say: There´s no tortilla like my mother´s. Ingridients are eggs, potatoes, onion, salt and olive oil. You need to cover the potatoes with olive oil and cook them slowly. It is important to use a lot of oil, although I know it is expensive outside Madrid. No oven in any case. Anyway, the best place to taste it, my mother´s kitchen. ;-D

  10. Calm down people, they said “We’ve added some spring charm to the Spanish classic with the addition of garlic and asparagus.” As a Mexican American I’m always updating classic Mexican dishes with different fresh healthy ingredients. Whatever you call it, it looks delicious! We have free summer concerts in Millennium Park in Chicago, so this would be great to bring with a bottle of wine!

  11. Another Spanish reader who can’t help saying that this is not a Spanish tortilla. Eggs and potatoes with onions (or not) and fried in a pan. Never heard of it being done in the oven.

    Although it is true that some people add other ingredients such as chorizo or green peppper, it is not very common.

  12. I am from Spain and yeah I really have to say that this should not be called “spanish tortilla”.
    The spanish tortilla has fried patatoes slices(I do it in the microwave because is less olive oil and therefore less greasy) onions (there is also the no onion version) and eggs…all of this in a pan. You can turn it if you have talent in the air, but I use a plate…lot easier and safer. Upon this you can also add chorizo (spanish sausage) red or green pepper.

  13. This looks so good and easy to make!

    x Francesca of primpandpaper.com

  14. Forgive me, but this is a frittata, not a tortilla*.

    *Part Spanish-girl who eats tortilla de patata at least once a week.

  15. This looks delicious, but this isn’t a proper Spanish tortilla.

  16. Looks nice but don’t call it Spanish Tortilla, please.

  17. this looks delicious! thanks for sharing :)
    xo, cheyenne

  18. I’m from Bilbao, in the Basque region of northern Spain. I think some people have already clarified what a traditional spanish tortilla is but there are many varieties, I for example make it with garlic and no onions and it’s delicious. Bars put ham and cheese or tuna fish salad in the middle.Some people add green pepper with the onion and some people boil the potatoes or they cook them in the microwave, which is a healthier way than the traditional one, which is frying the potatoes in tons of oil.This tortilla you’ve posted looks delicious and a lot healthier than the traditional one, thank you for the idea!

  19. I agree with María, no garlic in the tortilla EVER ;)
    The other difference in the recipe I think might be cultural. When we learn it in Spain, you are taught to just “follow the recipe with what you think is best that day” that means, your grandma will never tell you how many eggs or potatoes you need, whether in the US you measure everything when you cook.

    It looks amazing in any case!

  20. Tip: If you don´t eat right away DO NOT put it in the fridge! The tortilla will keep at room temperature, covered, for up to three days. If you put it in the fridge, the potato hardens and looses flavors.

  21. Tip: If you don´t eat right away DO NOT put it in the fridge! The tortilla will keep at room temperature, covered, for up to three days. If you put it in the fridge, the potato hardens and looses flavors.

  22. Beautiful food photography!

  23. Thank you Joanna! This is going to be a great series. Perfect for those hot sun filled picnics. Can’t wait to try this.

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  25. Hi from Spain!
    The traditional “tortilla de patatas” is made in a pan, and I highly recommend you to give it a try! You can see in this VIDEO (min. 3:40: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsIDWHvI0Gc) how to turn over the tortilla in the pan. This make a big difference than making the tortilla in the oven: the idea is to get a thin outer layer of egg (like a crepe!) filled with a creamy mixture of egg, potatoes, sweet onion and other ingredients that you’d like to include (asparagus sounds delicious!).
    My personal recipe adds a pinch of thyme :)

  26. I think this looks delicious, but I definitely wouldn’t call it tortilla. The Spaniards will be mad their is no ham. Regardless, I’d eat it and love it.

  27. dc says...

    Frittata de Patata. :)

  28. I just returned from Barcelona where we took a cooking class… we did cook a Spanish tortilla! It’s a very simple recipe with potatoes, onions, eggs & salt. You do “flip” the pan…but you put a wooden platter the size of the pan to flip…then slide it back into the pan for minimal cooking to finish. It was so yummy!

  29. Looks and sounds a lot like a fritata. Do you know what the difference is? Looks yummy, what ever it’s called.

  30. Wow this looks amazing! Looking at the pictures, now I’m starving! Thanks for sharing !

    Hope you have a wonderful day.
    Sofia

    stylishlyinlove.blogspot.com

  31. casa club, i asked tara and liza about the oven, and they said:

    for us, doing it in the oven turns out the best. It doesn’t always work out so well when you flip something hot and runny! But if you’re experienced with making tortillas and you’d like to do it in the pan, it will work for this recipe, too. thank you!!

  32. oh yes! thank you so much for the notes about traditional spanish tortilla. makes sense for sure! we wanted to say spanish tortilla to differential from flatbread tortilla: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tortilla

    but maybe we should pick a different name entirely. it can be a third kind of tortilla :)

  33. Yum! I’m looking forward to going on some summer picnics soon.

  34. jm says...

    I love tortilla espanol! This version looks totally delicious.

  35. Hi Joanna!

    I can agree with the other Spaniards. The original tortilla is made with potatoes, eggs, olive oil, salt and (for me and most of my friends) onion. No garlic! Tortilla has a really subtle flavour, it tastes even a bit sweet if you add enough onion (we use the big, white onions for this dish). No pepper, no herbs, no veggies. That’s the traditional one. Of course, you flip it in the pan, using a dish or a pan cover. It is tricky, I practice it almost every week and hope to be able to master it like my mom and every mom does. I love it for breakfast, too, served warm, and a bit uncooked in the middle.
    There are other tortillas that may look similar, but then they receive different names, like “tortilla campera” or “tortilla de calabacín”. Anyway, I’m sure this tortilla you’ve posted is delicious. I just love tortilla, the traditional version, with its subtle flavour and its humble ingredients.

  36. Looks like a winning recipe! I must make this for a light supper or lunch with the ladies. Thank you for sharing!

  37. Hey!!another spanish here..i agree with Maria Alvarez..definetely we make it in the pan and with onion instead of garlic although it´s true that we have a trick in each kitchen..mine it´s to add a green pepper!!
    Anyway you must give it a try,it´s delicious!!

  38. dc says...

    Not a Tortilla de Patatas but it looks yummy!

  39. I’m Spanish and this is a forma to do a toritilla but we don’t do it in the oven we flip the tortilla, experts do it in the air and cook the other side in the pan too.

  40. As soon as I saw the word “cinch” I knew this wasn’t going to be a real Spanish tortilla – I live in Spain and most of my Spanish friends won’t even make it because it’s so tricky to get right!

    Regardless, this recipe looks delicious :)

  41. Thank you for sharing this great recipe! I can’t wait to make it.

    districtandmore.com

  42. I am sorry Joanna, but this is not a Spanish tortilla. The Spanish one has only potatoes, eggs, olive oil and salt (onion optional), and you cook it in a pan. This one looks delicious as well but… it is not the Spanish way.

  43. I LOVE a spanish tortilla. So easy and so tasty. Really, anything along these lines is always a win for us. We have a sticky rice omelette on our meal plan for this week (http://girlnamedallyn.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/meal-plan-june-1-june-7/) and now I’m thinking I’ll have to make it tonight.
    Don’t pay attention to all of those knocking the authenticity. That can vary even from town to town in Spain!

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  46. Hi!
    It is not the traditional recipe or way of doing. However I am willing to give it a try!
    I normally do it in the pan, with onion and in order to make it less dry I add zucchini instead of asparagus.
    Great for picnics indeed!

  47. In the oven, really? why? WHY!?

  48. Uuuuh this is gonna be controversial, at least for Spaniards because…we are very, very, VERY opinionated.
    The quantity of potatos/egg is nº of medium size potatos=nº of eggs.
    The real deal is with onions, but never ever garlic. And you flip it in the pan until it is done to your taste. I like it raw in the middle.
    I don’t know how many Spanish followers do you have, but I can asure you, this ain’t gonna be pretty (:

  49. AAHH I’m so excited about this series! I LOVE picnics and this would make for a wonderful, easy, romantic picnic date for a movie in the park or a long leisurely park dinner.

  50. my mom’s husband always makes tortilla when we visit; it’s SO good and hearty with the potatoes and egg.

  51. That’s the weirdest way of making a tortilla that I have ever seen, why would you put it in the oven instead of flip it in the pan?

  52. looks amazing!