Sunday, August 31, 2008

Tortilla Española (Spanish Frittata/ Omelette?)

I don't know how to say it in english, "Tortilla Española" is a thick frittata type egg cake you could call it, that is heavy on potatoes. The classical Spanish one is simply thin slices potatoes into rounds, deep-fried, folded into beaten eggs with salt, pepper and parsley then fried in a large pan into a thick egg pie thing...

But my grandmother does it different, I like to think of hers as "Tortilla Española" on steroids, and I am courageous enough to say it's way better than the simple potato one.

Oh yeah and even though this dish is originally Spanish, Cubans love Tortilla Española, ha ha some even call it "Tortilla Cubana", I have noticed that most Cubans cut the fried potatoes into cubes (we do in my house to) for this type of omelette, but I noticed Spanish cooks do it into rounds, well whatever here is my grandmothers AWESOME version.

-4 large or 8 small potatoes peeled and cubed into small pieces
-Canola, Sunflower or other oil to deep fry potatoes
-14 large eggs
-1 small green bell pepper minced
-1 small red bell pepper minced
-1 whole onion minced
-1 whole head of garlic peeled, finely minced (preferably mashed to a paste in a mortar or press)
-1/4 bunch of minced cilantro or parsley
-2 spanish chorizos (casing removed sliced into rounds)
-1 cup of pork ham chopped
-1/4- 1/2 cup thinly sliced pimiento stuffed Spanish Green Olives
-salt to taste (be careful many people tend to either over salt this dish or make it bland)
-Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (to fry the omelette?)

(1)Heat cooking oil enough to pan-fry/ deep-fry cubed potatoes, when oil is hot enough (test it with a wooden spoon if it bubbles around it's ready). Add your potatoes and fry them this may take 20 minutes, meanwhile you can prep everything while the potatoes fry. When potatoes are done set aside in a plate with paper towel on bottom, very lightly salt them.
(2)Now heat extra-virgin olive oil in a large pan on medium high, sautee minced onion and bell peppers until onion is translucent, if using parsley add the minced parsley to this (if using Cilantro don't it will wilt badly) and sautee together, now add garlic and sautee until fragrant.
(3)Now add the ham and the Spanish Chorizo and fry until everything gets infused (maybe a couple minutes)
(4)Turn of heat, now in a large bowl, crack all eggs into it, and beat until it foams, add some salt to this, now add all the contents you sauteed, and fried potatoes fold in, mix in sliced olives and fold some more. If using cilantro add it now (if you used parsley don't add cilantro)
(5)Now heat extra virgin olive oil in a large pan on medium high, not a lot just enough to lightly coat, add the egg mixture, don't touch it, gently push around a little every time the egg slightly cooks to allow it to cook sort of evenly, be patient, push in sides gently try to let the egg kinda flow and slowly cook but don't break into it, then set heat on medium and cover with a large plate, let it cook on medium to medium low for about 6-7 minutes, uncover, see if it settled a bit and is more firm but not fully cooked it so now do the following.
(6)Turn off heat, place plate over it, use a large towel to hole the plate onto the pan and grab the pan, flip it over so you flip the omelette on one side, now turn pan back on lightly oil with extra-virgin olive oil, gently slide it back in slowly, shake the pan a bit not the omelette, cover for 5 more minutes to fully cook on other side.
(7)Turn of heat, clean the large plate you used, now use it again to flip the omellete into it, or if your scared you can simple leave it in the pan and slice it and get it from there if your scared you'll break it, we never break it though it's experience ha ha.
(8)Serve by cutting big cake like slices and serve, it can stand alone it doesn't need any side dishes, it can be eaten for breakfast with a glass of milk and fresh seasonal fruit on the side or even alone with a cup of coffee or cafe cubano, you can have it as lunch by itself with a salad on the side and beverage of choice, or simply for dinner along with rice, beans and a salad at least that's how we eat it in my house, you can even have it as a late night snack cold from the fridge (I'm bad sneaking into my fridge at night tsk tsk,)


Núria said...

Hola Nathan! Finally back home and I see this tremendous tortilla!!! Couldn't help it to leave a comment here: For me, Tortilla Española y tortilla de patatas is the same thing. And the omelette you came out with would be a sum of Tortilla a la paisana + Tortilla de chorizo and Tortilla Española... I bet the taste was Espectacular!!!

Nathan said...

Thanks I didn't know that there was other names for different types of Tortillas.

Ooh I forgot to mention if you don't want to use Spanish Chorizo you can use crumbled bacon just mince it heat it in a pan with no oil until it releases all the grease and then there sautee everything (onion, garlic, bell pepper, parsley, and ham) then you can dump that into the egg along with the fried potatoes and follow the recipe.

When my grandma does it with "bacon+ham" she calls it "Tortilla Cubana" I don't why.

canarygirl said...

Hi Nathan, I was going to say the same thing as Núria, Tortilla Paisana (country style tortilla). Yum!

Rox said...

Hi there! that looks so tasty... i make mine with turkey ham and turkey bacon b/c i don't eat pork, but my mom makes it with the real stuff. I think my favorite though is just the potato and onion one... so yummy!

Nathan said...


Are you kosher? Or is it for health reasons?

Must be tough considering your Cuban, no lechon asado (that would mean missing out on Cuban fried rice, sandwiches, medianoches, croquetas de jamon, etc.), tocino, manteca (the leftover baking grease from bacon, chicharron, or just plain manteca which makes the best red beans), chorizo español, fufu de platano, chicharrones, jamon del diablo, or potajes that use pork I would die.

And that is just the Cuban side of it.

It's alright though I respect your stance.

Rox said...

Hi Nathan- yeah I follow Kosher laws which means no pork or pork products. You'd think being Cuban, I'd miss it, but actually you'd be surprised how you can substitute this ingredient. Instead of croquetas de jamon, I just make them de pollo or bacalao. I've had to use my imagination to replicate some dishes without pork, but so far I have not been let down.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nathan,

I love your recipes. Reminds me of my family cuabn recipes! Another thing cubans do to their tortillas, well at least my family does.. Is we put put platano maduros in it. The sweetness just tastes DELICIOUS! The maduros gives the tortilla that nice cuban touch! My husband LOVES maduros and he loves his tortillas with them too, his grandmother used to make it like that for him when he was a kid as well. =D

Try it!


Nathan said...

Bien venida :) yeah I've always been curious to make a "Tortilla de Maduros" I'll make it someday :) it's like a Tortilla Espanola, but it's just plantains, salt, and eggs in tortilla form. Very delicious and a perfect example of Spanish flare in Cuban cooking :) another dish I must try is "Pastelon de Maduros" (a cuban plantain casserole) and "Sopa de Platano" those are on my list to make someday :)

Downtown Foodie of Richmond said...

Ugh!! DROOL!!! That has to be the most delicious looking tortilla espanola I have ever seen!!! Thanks for sharing another amazing recipe!!!!

Nathan said...

Thx so much for the compliments :)