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Ole'-La tortilla espanola or Spanish Omelette

Updated on October 4, 2011
The Spanish Omelette also known in Spanish as la tortilla espanola or la tortilla de patatas
The Spanish Omelette also known in Spanish as la tortilla espanola or la tortilla de patatas | Source

One of the culinary delights from Spain is la tortilla espanola or la tortilla de patatas. I bet you didn't know that Spain had the tortilla. Most people associate tortillas with Latin American cooking, and you are correct. But, Spain also has the tortilla; however, it is very different from the Latin American version. The Spanish tortilla is really a type of an egg and potato omelette. It can be served as a main meal or as a tapa. (a small plate appetizer) It can also be served hot or cold and frequently is served cold at picnics in Spain. La tortilla espanola is a great food to serve as a supper meal in Spain, as this meal is served very late at night in Spain - 10 to 11pm. My favorite way of serving the Spanish tortilla is hot.

The Spanish tortilla is a typical Spanish dish consisting of a thick, egg omelette made with potatoes and fried in olive oil. Its other ingredients are onions and parsley. Some of the other ingredients the Spanish add to the tortilla are: green peppers, chorizo (Spanish sausage), mushrooms, and diced ham. The tortilla paisana includes red pepper and peas.

Once cooked, the tortilla is always served with bread or in a bocadillo, a sandwich made with crusty bread. A side dish to include is la ensalada mixta, a mixed, tossed salad with a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing.

The first known reference in Spain to the Spanish tortilla is in a Navarrese court document from 1817. Navarre is located in northern Spain. Legend has it that during the siege of Bilbao, the Carlist general, Thomas de Zumalacarrigui created the tortilla de patatas to feed his starving army because of its high nutritional value. It appears that after that, the tortilla spread throughout Spain during the Carlist wars and became a popular Spanish food.

Recipe for La Tortilla Espanola or Spanish Omelette:


4 medium potatoes

4 or 5 eggs

1 medium onion

1 cup olive oil

salt to taste

chopped parsley to taste

Cooking instructions:

Peel the potatoes and cut them into about 1/8 inch slices, Heat a deep pan with olive oil and place potatoes in the oil. Keep the stove at medium heat, which allows the potatoes to cook slowly and to soak up the oil. Finely chop the onion and add it to the potatoes and oil. Continue to slowly fry the pan's contents until the onions turn soft and slightly brown. After 10 minutes, strain the rest of the oil. Add a pinch of salt and beat the eggs in a small bowl; add the chopped parsley and mix. Add the potatoes and onions. Now, put the pan that held the potatoes back on the stove at the same medium heat with a little bit of oil and add the contents of the bowl (eggs, potatoes, and onion.) Cover the pan and leave it to cook on low heat for 5-10 minutes until the bottom begins to brown. Then, here comes the fun part: flipping the tortilla

Using a lid or large plate, turn the omlette upside down (flip onto the plate) and then slide it back into the pan with the uncooked side on the bottom.

When both sides are slightly brown, take your cooked tortilla espanola off the heat and put it on a plate to serve. Garnish with parsley and/or tomatoes. Serves four.

This is a great late night snack and wonderful for Sunday brunch. With practice the flipping of the tortilla becomes very easy!

The finished  Spanish Omelette or Tortilla Espanola
The finished Spanish Omelette or Tortilla Espanola | Source

Mexican or Latin American tortilla

The familiar Mexican tortilla is a different tortilla altogether. It is usually made of corn or flour and water and is a flatbread. When the corn and water is combined it forms a masa that is the basis for the tortilla. It is kneaded and formed into a circle or, today, pressed in a tortilla press. It is then deep fried or grilled on both sides until golden and ready to serve. The soft taco is used to make burritos, enchiladas, rellenos, etc. and the hard taco (deep fried) is used to make crunchy tacos, chalupas etc. The Mexican tortilla has become so popular in American diets today, because of the influx of Mexican immigrants and the Mexican history in the west and southwest of our country.

The popular Mexican tortilla.  It is also used in other parts of Latin America.
The popular Mexican tortilla. It is also used in other parts of Latin America. | Source


Submit a Comment

  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    5 years ago from Taos, NM

    Vacation Trip: Yes, this is a great recipe and one I love very much. It can be eaten as a meal with a tossed salad or as a snack or tapas cut into bite size pieces. I fell in love with this in Spain and I even demonstrated how to cook this for my Spanish classes when I taught. It is simple but good. Enjoy! Thanks so much for reading and for your comments. Mosst appreciated.

  • Vacation Trip profile image


    5 years ago from India

    Wow.. A great recipe to add on my cook list. This looks simply mouth watering. Thanks for sharing.

  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Angela: This tortilla is so good and so easy to make. I love it on Sunday mornings or late Sunday nights for a supper. It is great and so delicious. Thank you for stopping by to read and comment. I'm glad you enjoyed this!

  • Angela Brummer profile image

    Angela Brummer 

    6 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

    Oh Yummy Yummy!

  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    6 years ago from Taos, NM

    I make this all the time. In fact, I would demonstrate making it for my Spanish classes in high school. They loved it and always were present and paid attention that day! Thanks for checking this out. Oh, to live on the Costa del Sol!

  • MarieAlice profile image

    Maria Alicia Cardenas 

    6 years ago from Spain

    one of my favorites, my kids also love it... and is so easy to make!!!!

  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    7 years ago from Taos, NM

    Thanks Epi! This really is delicious for Sunday brunch or even a Sunday late night supper. It is really easy to make - it has to be to be made in my kitchen. You really will enjoy it. I've been on the road from Ohio back to Naples and have been away from hubs for a few days and it feels like a year. I have to get caught up on all your new hubs/poetry! Can't wait!

  • epigramman profile image


    7 years ago

    ole - is so right - and oh my goodness this looks so good - you will have my mouth watering for the rest of the day until I get to the grocery store for these ingredients - and you always have the right stuff too for your hub writing - great to have you drop by with your valued and perceptive comments - have a great day and evening - off to work in a little bit

    lake erie time ontario canada 3:59pm

  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    7 years ago from Taos, NM

    You're welcome. These are not my personal photos; however, it does look like these for the most part. Enjoy! And thanks for commenting.

  • Lady_E profile image


    7 years ago from London, UK

    Oh that looks divine. I hope mine looks just as nice when I make it. Thanks for the Recipe.

  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    7 years ago from Taos, NM

    Thank you so much for sharing that "Dad moment". Yes, try this receipe. It's not a difficult one. Nice to know you!

  • Jackie Lynnley profile image

    Jackie Lynnley 

    7 years ago from The Beautiful South

    My dad use to make something like this so many years ago just on rare occasions he had some time off from work and we all loved it so. I bought some olive oil just a few days ago to fry in which I never have, I only use the Evoo in salad and now I know why. I have got to make this. Thanks you so much for the recipe, and welcome to hubs.


  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    7 years ago from Taos, NM

    Thank all of you for your kind remarks. This is really easy to make. In fact it is so easy, I used to demonstrate cooking this in front of my Spanish classes. I did cut the potatoes and onions ahead of time, but I cooked it, and we ate it in 45 minutes. This is one day I had the complete and undivided attention of my students in my Spanish classes. It was a hoot! And yes, I flipped all my tortillas and never dropped one.

  • Hyphenbird profile image

    Brenda Barnes 

    7 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Have I told you lately that I love you? Just looking at those pictures and reading this made me weak in the knees. Yum-Um! And I appreciate the history lesson also. Thank you!

  • PiaC profile image


    7 years ago from Oakland, CA

    The Spanish Omelette is one of my very favorite tapas! thanks for sharing the recipe. It looks easy enough to make! I'll try it the next time I'm feeling inspired to make Spanish food!

  • suzettenaples profile imageAUTHOR

    Suzette Walker 

    7 years ago from Taos, NM

    Thanks for commenting and enjoy! It is really good!

  • Just Ask Susan profile image

    Susan Zutautas 

    7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

    This looks so good and I have bookmarked it so that I can try this very soon. Thanks.


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