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Spanish Tortilla - Argentinean food

Updated on April 26, 2013

What is a Spanish tortilla?

With origin in Spain, Spanish Tortilla is very common in Argentina in all its variations. In this lens I am going to talk about the tortillas we cook at home, and will keep adding when I have pretty pictures. The ones I will use now are not that good, but will take better. :)

What is a Spanish Tortilla? It is like an omelet, but instead of sandwiching your ingredients with the egg beats, you mix it all up.

The most common is the potato and onion tortilla, but with this system the sky is the limit.

My favorite is zucchini tortilla, you can also make them with peas, spinach, mushrooms, pretty much any vegetable you like. And you can do them with tuna, sausages, or jam if you are of those who think that if it doesn´t have some meat it is not food..

Tortillas are great because they can easily be prepared as complete meals, and kids eat their veggies without effort. You can use them for lunch or dinner, if you do not eat eggs for breakfast.

How to make tortillas in general

It is very simple to make a tortilla. You just

  1. Cook your vegetables making them tasty. You can fry them, steam them, or use the system you like as long as the result is soft(ish) and dry (no liquid).
  2. Beat enough eggs to make the vegetables sticky (add sea salt and pepper, or your favorite seasoning). Mix everything. Most recipes you will find use a lot of eggs. My tortillas use 2 to 3 eggs because I make one for each person. They cook faster and it is easier to have good looking (i.e. not burned or runny) tortillas.
  3. Pour the contents in a non stick pan (whatever you use for omelets work), or an iron pan with some oil/butter. Do not use aluminum or steel, they will not work.
  4. Put the heat to minimum and cook covered. This is my personal method, on most cases I do not even need to turn it around.

    If you see the bottom already dry and the top still with some runny egg, then you will have to turn it around. In that case...

  5. Take a plate, and cover the pan.
  6. Turn it around fast praying for it to fall in one piece.
  7. Run it slowly back to the pan with the runny egg toward the bottom.
  8. Cook a bit more and you are done!

    It is easy! And if it breaks... well, the taste is the same. :D

Choose a tortilla

What Spanish tortilla do you prefer?

See results
Pea tortilla
Pea tortilla

Pea Tortilla

Peas are great sources of carbs and proteins, vitamin C, some of the B vitamins, and the main set of minerals (magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, manganese and iron). Toss in some "flavor veggies" (in my book those are anything from the onion, garlic or bell pepper family) you get that extra protection against bugs and the circulatory benefits. Add to this eggs and some sea salt, and you really do not need much more to make a complete meal.

How to prepare it?

I add a tea spoon of olive oil to my fry pan and put in the flavor veggies. For the pea tortilla I use a lot of chopped onion, something like two mid size for a cup of peas. You are ok just with this, I usually add one claw of garlic minced very tiny. If you add the salt at the beginning and put a lid over the onion mix, it gets transparent and doesn´t burn; that is how I like it, but to each its own.

Once the flavor veggies are cooked, you add the peas already cooked (I use frozen peas usually and put them right there from the package).

Correct seasoning if necessary and put the lid back on to de-froze/cook the peas a bit. I don´t like mashed peas in my tortilla, so as soon as they are tender, I take it out.

Meantime beat eggs in a bowl. For one cap of peas I use 2 or 3 eggs. It ll depends on the grandiloquence of the chicken, and the size of your cup. Sorry for the lack of science... this is home cooking, you´ll get the grip of it. :D

When the veggies are just at the right point, you take them out of the pan and put them in the bowl with the eggs (do not add the eggs to the pan!). Mix carefully with a fork, a spoon or your latest fancy spatula.

Now look at your frying pan and see if it is clean. Sometimes you can use the same, sometimes you will have to clean it with a kitchen paper or use another one. I actually have one skillet just for tortilla (and omelets) and do not use it for anything else.

Once you have your skillet - same or another - clean, hot and with a drop of your favorite oil (please DO NOT use corn or canola), add the egg beats with all the veggies.

Put the heat to minimum and cover with a lid. If it is thin enough, you will not need to turn. If it is fatter, you will.

Turn when it is half done if necessary, and when it is done from both sides, put it in a nice plate like the one I inherited from my grandma. Isn´t it gorgeous?

Ingredients for a gourmet version of Pea Tortilla

Groceries are best done locally. But if you cannot, there are some options you can look into. This is what I found in Amazon.

Pea tortilla for dinner

tortilla with milanesa and salad
tortilla with milanesa and salad

Tortilla with "milanesa" and salad. Mmmm

What is great about this dish is that it is really a "fast food" but with good nutritional count. The milanesa can be frozen (fry or bake as you wish), and the salad is just tossing things on a bowl. The tortilla takes about 20 to 30 minutes to be done.

To learn how to do a potato Spanish tortilla see my other lens about potatoes in Argentinean cuisine.

spinach tortilla
spinach tortilla

Spinach tortilla

If your kids give you a hard time to eat their veggies, try this recipe and then come back and tell me what happened. :D

This recipe is very similar to the peas tortilla. There are only a few details you need to be careful about.

How to prepare it?

Cook your spinach (or chard, or dandelion leaves or sow thistle, or any greens you want). How to do it? steam it or give it a quick pass through hot water. Remember we said that the veggies needed to be dry? You will need to wait until you can handle the heat and press it to extract the water, then chop.

On a pan soft fry chopped onions and garlic (same amount as before, about 2 onions and 2 claws of garlic for one cup of spinach). You know the drill, salt it, cover it and use low heat until transparent.

On a bowl beat the eggs (2 or 3). So far so good, but now it will be a bit different. We will use salt, nutmeg and lots of Parmesan cheese just shredded (by hand tastes better :D). Nutmeg is a great combination for spinach, but if you don´t like it (or you are making it for the kids), do not use it.

Add the cooked onions and spinach to the eggs, and mix it well.

Now to the pan, hot and with some oil if necessary. Cook in low with a lid and turn half way if you see it needs it.

Spinach tortilla full meal

spinach tortilla at dinner time
spinach tortilla at dinner time

Tortilla with German sausage and something like a zucchini tortilla but broken, it is a mix between scrambled eggs and sauteed vegetables (recipe comes just bellow).

This meal can work for breakfast in US and North Europe. It is more likely lunch or dinner in the Spanish speaking countries.

sauteed zucchini
sauteed zucchini

Scrambled Sauteed zucchini

Looking for a version of this meal in English, I bumped into only one lady who calls them scromblettes (her own creation). What is it? just sauteed zucchini with scrambled eggs, everything mixed up.

This is a great option for those who can´t make omelettes or tortillas because they break. :D

The preparation of the image is special for me. We did it with the first zucchini of our garden. I just tossed some seeds in the dirt, and voila, a plant appeared. Actually many plants appeared and they are growing FAST. This amateur gardening business gets interesting sometimes.

How to do it?

On a hot pan with a drop of olive oil, add chopped onions, chopped bell pepper, chopped zucchinis, and chopped tomatoes (peeled, without the seeds or the juice).

Add your favorite seasoning, sea salt and cayenne pepper for me.

Cover, put the heat low and wait until tender.

When the vegetables are cooked but not broken, add 3 eggs just like that. And start moving everything with a spatula.

Keep going until the egg is cooked.

Correct seasoning and you are ready to go!

This Lens has been blessed by SquidAngels!



Comments? Ideas? Questions? I want to hear all about it!

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    • empathzone profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @anonymous: Yeah, the praying part is very important! :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I've had fun trying to make tortillas. I've prayed a number of times for whole tortillas to land on my plate. Thanks for the great lens and explanations.

    • empathzone profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @Fran Tollett: Thanks!! And it tastes better!! :D

    • Fran Tollett profile image

      Fran Tollett 

      6 years ago

      This sounds really interesting. The spinach tortilla looks good to me :-)


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