Europe Food Mains Travel

Tortilla española

14 August 2012

I remember arriving in Barcelona with an empty tummy. I was one day away from getting a severe head cold and from thus having a sad sniffling time in such a beautiful city.

Something else that makes me sad is that these are the only photos I have left from Barcelona. Long story short, somehow I managed to lose a lot of photos over the years. I have not let it ruin me. I still have the lovely memories, one of which was meeting one of my closest friends.

She and I spent our time in Barcelona chatting on the beach, exploring the markets, drinking sangría (her, mostly), speaking my first four words of Spanish to a Spanish person (“Necesito ir al baño” – me, mostly) and seeking yummy tapas. The first tapas I tried was tortilla española and was very much in love. It is a type of thick, cheesy, potatoey Spanish frittata.

Sometime later I stumbled across a recipe for this tortilla española and it very much reminded me of the first tapas I ate in Barcelona. I originally made this recipe with an electric square fry-pan, as in Costa Rica we didn’t have a stove-top. Somehow, it worked. On second attempt making this with my suegra (mother-in-law), upon attempting the all-important tortilla flip, the boiling oil managed to escape out from the pan and proceed to burn her entire forearm. I felt terrible and vowed never to make this dreaded, although delicious, tortilla again. Luckily enough, suegra’s apartment complex had an aloe vera plant growing in the entrance, so we cut off a chunk and lathered it on her arm. A rugged scar will forever remind her of the day her daughter-in-law tried to teach her a new recipe.

I recently discovered a better way to cook the top side of a frittata instead of flipping it and risking a similar incident as mentioned above. After cooking the bottom of the tortilla, just pop the whole frying-pan into the grill/broiler for 5-10 minutes. Works just as well.


Tortilla española
Serves 8
  1. 2 tbsp olive oil
  2. 3 medium potatoes, peeled, cut into cubes
  3. 1 onion, thinly sliced
  4. 4 eggs, lightly whisked
  5. 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  6. 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese, grated
  1. Steam chopped potatoes in microwave-safe bowl with lid/cling wrap for 8 minutes, without water.
  2. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a 21cm/8in frying pan over low heat. Add potato and onion and cook, stirring, for 5-10 minutes, or until potatoes are slightly browned.
  3. Preheat grill/broiler at medium-high heat.
  4. Combine eggs, parsley and cheese in a bowl. Add potato mixture and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in the frying pan over high heat. Add potato mixture and cook for 30 seconds. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes, or until base is set.
  6. Put frying pan into preheated grill/broiler at medium heat for 5-10 minutes, or until top is cooked and slightly browned.
Adapted from Taste
Adapted from Taste
niveous moon

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