This week my wonderful Spanish madre, Nati, taught me how to make a traditional “tortilla española” (Spanish tortilla) or “tortilla de patatas” (tortilla with potatoes). It’s nothing like a Mexican tortilla, and it’s also nothing like an omelette despite the ingredients! I took some pictures while Nati was making it (she thought this was really funny), and I also wrote down the instructions (in your basic Spanglish). Much like my dad’s form of cooking, Nati doesn’t have a recipe or anything for this – it’s a lot of “whenever it looks ready” or “however much you think” or “it depends”.
1. Fill a pan with a couple inches of olive oil.
2. Peel a potato and cut it into thin slices.
3. Add a little bit of thinly chopped onion, to flavor. She used a different type of onion (for which I only know the Spanish name), but it just appeared to be a smaller, regular onion? Add a few pinches of salt to the potatoes and onions.
4. Pour the potatoes and onions into the heated olive oil on the stove. Let cook for about 10 minutes, or whenever the potatoes are fully cooked (but not fried). Keep moving the potatoes around and cut into smaller pieces, so they absorb the flavor of the onions.
6. After the potatoes are fully cooked, drain the excess olive oil.
7. Scoop the potatoes from the pan into the bowl containing the eggs. (When I asked why you didn’t just pour the eggs over the potatoes, Nati told me it was because “that’s not a tortilla de patatas.”)
8. Turn up the heat on the stove. Pour the egg and potato mixture back into the pan. Keep moving the pan around. Turn heat back down to medium.
Let me know if anyone is inspired to try it I know I can’t wait to make it back home!