My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)


One of the things I love about the new forum is the members sharing their favorite recipes. Recently, Jiza, who is from Spain, shared a recipe for a classic Spanish tortilla. (A tortilla in Spain is a potato omelette, not the flat flour or corn bread or wrapper that’s known as tortilla in North America. That kind of tortilla comes from Mexico.)

Jiza specifies that the potato slices should be almost ‘boiled’ in oil. She and Loretta, another Spanish member of our community, agree that parboiling the potatoes is not an option. Loretta recommended slicing the potatoes very thinly and cooking them in the pan with a lid on, to steam-cook them.

That’s when I thought, why not make the potato pieces even smaller by grating them, as they are for a classic Swiss rösti? Rösti are crispy potato pancakes, made with shredded raw or parboiled potatoes. I am firmly in the raw-potato side when it comes to rösti, since I think that the creamy-starchy texture of raw potato cooked in butter or oil is far superior. The advantage of shredding the potatoes for speeding up the cooking process is quite obvious.

Anyway, first I made a proper tortilla following Jiza’s recipe to the letter, with 5mm (about 1/4th inch) thick potato slices cooked in olive oil until tender. The resulting tortilla, especially when cold, was delicious. But, as Jiza said it does take about 30 minutes of cooking time, plus the time it takes to peel and slice the potatoes.

So next, I tried it with shredded potatoes. I could get by with a lot less olive oil for cooking the potatoes, and the total cooking time was reduced to about 15 minutes (plus the time it takes to shred the potatoes). The taste was just as good as the original I think. It’s great hot, but really seems to develop a wonderful flavor when cold. Perfect for bento!

So then, here’s my take on the Spanish tortilla, with a small Swiss influence.

Spanish tortilla with shredded potatoes

This makes 2 servings; each serving is about 380 to 450 calories each, depending on how much oil you use.

  • 3 ‘large’ eggs
  • 3 small (around 2 1/2 inches / 5-6 cm diameter) boiling-type or ‘waxy’ or ‘low-starch’ potatoes. In Europe go for varieties like Nicola, Bintje, Charlotte or (in the UK) Maris Piper. I used a rather unique variety I got at the market called Mona Lisa. In North America, the red skinned boiling potatoes or Yukon Golds should work well.
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 1/2 to 2 Tbs. good quality olive oil

Equipment needed: A small (20cm / 8 inch or so) non-stick or cast iron frying pan; another frying pan or a large plate; spatula; grater

Peel the potatoes and grate them coarsely with a grater or mandoline or food processor. Wrap the pile of grated potato in a few layers of paper towels, and squeeze out the excess moisture. This makes the potatoes cook quicker.

Heat up a frying pan with about 1 Tbs. of olive oil. Put in the squeezed out grated potato, and sprinkle a little salt over them. Cook over medium heat with a lid on until the potatoes are soft and a just a bit crispy. Take out and drain off any excess oil.

Beat the eggs with 1/2 tsp. salt, freshly ground black pepper. Add the cooked potato and mix well.

Heat up the frying pan again with about 1/2 Tbs. of olive oil. Pour in the egg mixture. Cook, uncovered over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the bottom is crispy and the top is almost set. Flip the omelette over - you could use a big wide spatula, or two spatulas, or flip it over onto a plate or a second frying pan inverted over the pan. Cook on the other side for another 5 minutes until the omelette is set.


Let cool before packing in a bento box. You could cut it into wedges, as I did here, or into small squares. The omelette alone is just about a meal unto itself, so I just put some fresh, unadorned mâche or lamb’s lettuce with it. The subtle nutty flavor of the mâche goes so well with the cold, hearty omelette. You could also use it as a filling for a very substantial sandwich.

You can make this the night before. I haven’t tried freezing it, so I can’t say if it hold up well there.

Tortilla variation: Using potato chips?

Both Jiza and Loretta mention a sort of ‘student version’ of tortilla, which uses potato chips mixed into the egg! I haven’t tried it, but you might want to give it a go, especially if you are a student with limited cooking space. (I actually may try it sometime myself…it sounds intriguing.)

Some produce porn

Here are the Mona Lisa potatoes I mentioned earlier.

Green and white

Inside, they are regular potatoes, but that ghostly white skin is so striking, isn’t it?

And some mâche or lamb’s lettuce:

mâche (lamb's lettuce)

Both taken at one of my favorite places in the world, the Marché Agricole (farmer’s market) in Velleron, just a few days ago.

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Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

I love that you shredded the spud instead of slicing. And the photo of it is sooo nice!

I definitely have to try this!


Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

A rösti tortilla... it's an idea, I will give it a try, I don't think very often to cook potatoes and generally have to throw most of them away (I don't have a right dark dry cool place to store them).

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

You could try wrapping them in an old thick jumper 9or whatever else works) that you don't particularly care for. It will keep them in a dark and ought lower the temperature of the potatoes a bit too, esspecially if you wrap the potatoes up while they're cool.

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

Great tip ! I always had to wait to have fried potato leftovers in order to do this because of the time it takes to do tortillas from scratch, but now I think I'll indulge a little more often... and I just might try the potato chips version, out of curiosity.

As for the light in your photos : well, that's one good thing about the wind, isn't it ? A pale blue sky and cold mistral, that's how I see the winter.
(side note : What, Mona lisa aren't a stapple in the rest of europe ? I learned something today...)

I hope your home-hunt is going well !

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

Beautiful pictures of the market. I adore mâche. Yum.

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

I want your market for my very own!

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

wow, I've never seen mâche leaves so large! Though when I think about it there was something similar looking at the Angers market but with a tinge of violet at the edges...Does the Velleron version taste any differently than the regular? Hope you're enjoying your sojourn into southern France.

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

They taste just like the small leaves you usually see, but just - bigger and more robust. And so fresh! I forgot about a little bit and they've been in the very inadequate little refrigerator we have, and they were still perfectly fine after like 8 days.

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

Thanks for posting this! I haven't really explored the forums yet so I wouldn't have stumbled across it. I studied in Spain for a couple months two years ago, and I've missed the tortillas and the little bocadillas we'd have as a snack (and the fresh bread we'd have for lunch everyday, and the cheese, and the calamari...) I've tried a couple of recipes I've come across online but they didn't work very well, so I'm excited to try the one from someone actually from Spain (and then your version).

I don't know, I lost about 10-15 pounds when I was in Spain and I had a bocadilla (tortilla on bread) a couple times a week, although everyone else in my study abroad group ended up gaining weight. Maybe it was the fact that my host mom couldn't cook to save her life so I didn't eat very much for lunch. Though the gigantic hills probably helped - I actually had to work uphill both ways to school! (There was a big hill, or I would consider it a small mountain, between my apartment and the university. I ended up sweaty and out of breath everyday both ways).

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

That's nice! but it's called "bocadillo", not bocadilla ;)
I hope you like the tortilla and that you are able to find the olive oil easily! :D

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

Oh that does look good! Bringing down the cooking time to 15 minutes is a splendid achievement, and I salute you for it! :D

It's reminded me that, some (considerable) time ago I was staying in the Netherlands with a Spanish friend of my mother's. She pulled out some grated rösti potato from the freezer and made a Spanish omelet with that (this was also the first time I ever saw anybody add chopped garlic to a tortilla). The omelet took very little time to make and made a lovely lunch with some salad. So you're in good company! (Although I'm sure it's much nicer with fresh potato rather than frozen)

I'm really happy you explained about the potatoes. I'm awful for these details and usually forget which are the kinds that work. In Spain any potato seems to do the trick but I've had my disasters in England with spuds that wouldn't soften. And that Mona Lisa variety does look beautiful, thanks for sharing the picture.

I'm firmly of the belief that my ingrained love of tortilla programmed me to appreciate okonomiyaki - which is now, thanks to you, another family favourite.

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

hey i find this tip great!!! :D
the tortilla looks delicious! aww i'm hungry!!! lol

I'll definetely use it :D

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

That's most definitely a Röstilla.

(Can't believe I'm the first one to do this embarassing joke. Were the others too ashamed?)

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

Oh, I haven't had Spanish tortilla in a bento for ages! Definitely should do that again. You're right, it's great bento food!


Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

as a tip: you can add mayo or ketchup or roast green peppers, these things go great with the tortilla :)

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

It's sort of like a glorified potato pancake!

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

this looks great! i have been craving tortilla with pesto aioli since having some at a tapas place last year. great bento idea!

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)


Since you have mentioned rosti, will it be possible for you to post your recipe for rosti and perhaps impart some tips on making rosti? I attempted once and it failed miserably. I have come across so many different versions of a rosti recipe and am seriously confused which is the best one to go with.

Gazillion thanks!!


Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

I will do so asap (probably on Just Hungry since unadorned rösti is best served hot I think).

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

I made this last night - it was delicious and simple, and I'm looking forward to the leftovers for lunch. Thanks for posting!

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

Wait wait wait. Are you trying to tell me that the potato omelets I've been making for years actually have a name? XD

I've been shredding taters, frying them, and mixing them with eggs for a long time. Never thought about frying slices before, though. I'll try that too next time I get my hands on some decent eggs.

These taste great with grated courgettes and a bit of feta cheese mixed in too, btw. ;)

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

Yeah! A truly Spanish omelette. It'd taste better if you add some spicy tomato sauce (aka "salsa brava"). Yo can do it mixing mayonaise, some ketchup and a little bit of tabasco, try it! It's tasty!

Greetings from Spain!

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

This is a clasic at home too my mom also mixes some onions and ocationally sausage (chorizo) it`s sooo delicious!!!

Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

We lived in Spain for three years and I love the Tortillas. When I was pregnant with Maggie-chan I would eat them almost daily with my other children. When we came back to the states and I was pressed for time, I started using O'brian frozen potatoes. I just like how fast they cook up plus the added bell pepper and onion flavor. Also someone told me about using a broiler to cook the top if you were nervous about flipping the tortilla out.

Okay I am headed to the gym..


Re: My Version Of Spanish Tortilla (Omelette)

My grandmother is from Spain, and growing up this was MAJOR comfort food for us grandkids. She taught me how to make it the traditional way-- with LOADS of oil-- not too long ago. I was absolutely blown away to find this on a bento site, but it makes so much sense! It's delicious hot, but also keeps well and tastes good cold.

I made it for the first time tonight with grated potatoes (my grandmother cut hers into tiny chunks). It turned out great! One serving for breakfast, one for lunch. :) No one can make it like abuela can, but I tell ya, this is definitely close!

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