Meat and Taters Around the World—Spain  — June 30, 2019

Meat and Taters Around the World—Spain 

orange yellow green and blue abstract painting
Photo by Steve Johnson on

Next let’s look at a classic potato dish from the country Spain……Spain’s “true national” dish….

Tortilla de Patata 

Also known as the Spanish omelette or Spanish tortilla, tortilla de patata are eaten across the country, for any meal of the day,…for breakfast, for dinner, served at room temperature as an appetizer…in (triangle pieces served with a fork as a  “tapa”…cur into little cubes and served with a cocktail stick as  “pincho” …as a sandwichas a picnic dish…and served in almost every home, cafe, bar, mall or rest stop….kinda like French fries here in Ameriax, I guess…

The word “tortilla” can actually be translated into the word “cake.”

Yet despite the name, this dish is totally different from the tortillas that we all think about when the word is mentioned….the ones we eat with fajitas, quesadillas, and so forth.

The perfect tortilla de patata is the perfectly juicy and thick omelet consisting of the perfect combination of eggs, potatoes, garlic, onion and olive oil….and perhaps spices—such as pepper, parsley or oregano…and veggies—such as green or red peppers and asparagus and mushrooms and peas…and meat—such as chorizo, sausage, diced ham, tuna, and shrimp.

So let’s look at how to make this simple and delicious dish.




The Potatoes

The best potatoes to make this dish are starchy potatoes, such as the Russett potato.

Cut the potatoes into ½ centimeter slices. If you slice your potatoes too thin, they will stick together….It’s better to err on the thick side…that just means that it will take a little longer for them to cook.

Pat the potato slices dry.

Put them in a large bow.

Sprinkle with salt. Salting the potatoes draws out more of their liquid and flavor.

Mix well..



The Onions
Slice the onion into thin slices. Cook the onions in 2Tbsp olive oil for about ten minutes over medium low heat…until the onions are very soft and slightly golden. Once the onions are caramelized, drain off any excess oil. and add to the egg mixture.


Additional Ingredients

Feel free to play around and experiment with other ingredients to go into your omelette, but honestly, the simpler, the better.

For example…try adding…

Add any extra ingredients a few minutes before your potatoes and onion finish cooking, depending on the cooking time of the ingredient.

Chorizo Sausage: Slice a Spanish chorizo sausage into eggs while they are frying…(more on this later)…

Green Pepper: Add 1 chopped green or red bell pepper ​to the potatoes and onions and fry.

Ham: Add a couple 1/4″ thick slices of finely chopped ham, or Canadian bacon.


Cooking the Potatoes and Onions

The PanYou will want to cook this dish in a 10″ non-stick frying pan over medium heat.

The OilUse a high quality olive oil, because the potatoes will absorb quite a bit of the oil.


  1. Heat 1-1/2C olive oil on medium-high heat. 
  2. Your oil is hot enough, once you can add a single piece of potato into the oil and it starts sizzling…(see more about pan frying in this previous post…Pan-Frying 101
  3. If your heat is too high, your potatoes will brown rapidly on the outside but will still be raw on the inside.
  4. Once you skillet is hot, carefully add your potatoes and onions into the frying pan, spreading it evenly over the bottom of the pan…as we did when we were Making the Perfect Hash Browns.
  5. Cook, turning occasionally, until crisp-tender, 10–15 minutes.
  6. Your goal is to slowly fry the potatoes until they are tender and creamy….not to the point where they become crisp like french fries.
  7. Check the potatoes occasionally to make sure they are not taking on any color. If so, turn the heat down a bit.
  8. When the potatoes are almost done, check for seasoning.
  9. Once you can easily break a piece of potato in half with a spatula, your potatoes are done.
  10. Season potatoes and onion with salt and pepper.
  11. Once you have finished frying your potatoes, remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them in a colander to cool for 5 minutes.



The Omelet

  • Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Combine with the potatoes, onions, salt, and pepper.
  • Let soak for about ten minutes. This will help your finished product stick together better.
  • Melt 2Tbsp butter over medium heat. Add the egg mixture.
  • Cook about eight minutes.
  • Now’s the time to flip the omelette over….to do this, place a large dinner plate upside down over the frying pan. With one hand on the frying pan handle and the other on top of the plate to hold it steady, quickly turn the frying pan over and let the omelet fall onto the plate.
  • Place the frying pan back onto the stove. Add enough oil to cover the bottom and sides of the pan.
  • Slide the tortilla, uncooked side down, back into the pan. Tuck the sides underneath.
  • Cook until golden on bottom and cooked through, about five minutes more.
  • Use a large plate to flip the tortilla out of the pan.
  • Turn the heat off and let the tortilla sit in the pan for 2 minutes. Allow the tortilla to sit for at least 15 minutes before serving.