Almost Fearless

Tortilla Española with Catalan Pan Con Tomate (Pa Amb Tomaquet)

Tortilla Española is one of Spain’s national dishes. It’s everywhere. It’s in the tapas bar, it’s sliced and put into sandwiches, it’s a course in your menu del dia. This is a great recipe for it, and I was glad to know you can actually reuse the oil again several times, otherwise this is an insane way to cook (you’ll see in a moment). The really cool part of learning how to cook this from a Barcelona-trained chef (I took a cooking class) was that he whipped up some Pan Con Tomate, the tomato bread that comes from Catalunya. Since we’re returning to Barcelona in the fall to live, I was especially pleased to learn the exact kind of tomato they use. But I’m skipping ahead. First the tortilla.


4 potatoes

4 eggs

1 onion


olive oil (regular olive oil, don’t use extra virgin olive oil, it will burn)


Beat the eggs.


Quarter and thinly slice the potatoes.


Dice the onion.


Heat up a large pan of oil on medium low. It should be hot enough to bubble around a piece of potato if you drop it in but it shouldn’t start getting too much of a boil. Put the potatoes in and adjust the temperature so it keeps a low boil for about 10 minutes. Then add the onions and boil for 10 minutes longer.

The oil will be hot enough to cook everything without being absorbed but it won’t brown the potatoes or onions at all. They will get really soft.

After they are done, you drain the oil out and put it aside for later use. You can probably make this dish 3-4 more times with the same oil, or you could use it for something else, like making beignets. I don’t know, it’s a ton of oil, I guess this recipe requires you to commit to quite a bit of tortillas in your future. That’s not an entirely bad thing.

Then you combine the eggs and potatoes in a pan and cook it over low heat for 2-3 minutes until it’s as firm as you like. Put a plate on top of the pan and flip it over to slide the tortilla out without breaking it.


Like this.


You slice this like a pie… it’s quite a bit of food but pretty simple to make.

Then comes the tomato bread. First, the tomatoes:


They only use the vine ripening hanging tomatoes (“tomate de colgar” if you want to ask for them in the market). These are a little bigger than cherry tomatoes and he used one tomato per slice of toast.

The recipe is really simple. Toast, garlic, tomato, salt and olive oil, but it’s so insanely good.


You just take some crispy bread, rub a clove of garlic across it, rub it down with a tomato, splash it with some extra virgin olive oil and sprinke some salt on. Yum.


Here is our entirely humble dish, the day-to-day breakfast and snack food of Spaniards, something so close to the experience of being in Spain that the smell of tomato bread brings me right back to our first time in Barcelona. Enjoy!

Christine Gilbert

I’ve been dragging my husband around the world since 2008 always with the promise that, “Yes, Drew there will definitely be hammocks there.”



  • Thanks for this! I ate tortilla every single morning while walking the Camino de Santiago. We’d leave early in the morning, and start looking for a cafe or bar around 9AM – cafe con leche and tortilla. Be still my heart. I didn’t realize that the recipe used so much oil! Do you have to flip it and cook both sides? Or does the entire thing cook without flipping?

    (Hungry now. Have to make this soon!)

    • Hi Stephanie! You don’t have to flip it, you just cook it slowly all the way through. I was surprised by the oil too because it doesn’t taste greasy!

  • Yum, looks delicious! I absolutely love tortilla española. I might be moving to Barcelona too in the next few months, and the food is definitely high on the list of things I’m excited about!

  • Hanging tomatoes are where it’s at! How is it possible that such simple ingredients and preparation can result in something so insanely delicious?

  • Glad that you share how to cook it. I will definitely try to make my own version of that tortilla espanola. Thanks for sharing.

  • This is the way I was taught tortilla espanola as well, in a lot of oil. I cook enough when (both home and work) that I keep the oil on the side of my stove, and can use it up in good time, for stir frys, browning meat, etc. However, I wanted to tell you do NOT use this oil for beignets! They would turn out tasting horribly! The oil has been flavored with the onion, so only re-use it for savory things, nothing sweet. It’s the same concept of never chopping fruit on the same cutting board you just used to chop onion or garlic, (without thoroughly washing the board). Unless of course, …you got a little creative and made savory beignets — maybe adding a bit of grated onion and cheese, or a finely minced pepper… now that would be good! hth