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.
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.
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!