26 Jul2010


One of the most common tapas or quick bites you will come across in Spain is some form of potato omelette or potato cake. They are usually cut up into little cubes and eaten with a toothpick, or sliced in wedges if you serve them as part of a larger luncheon dish. I have always liked these potatoes, and can munch on them warm or cold. They are perfect with an accompanying plate of salty jamon or even sardines or anchovies or bacalao (salt cod). Here is a simple recipe if you would like to make them at home.


Wash and peel 4-5 medium sized potatoes and slice about 1/3 of an inch thick into discs. Slice one medium to large white onion. In a non-stick pan, add about a tablespoon or two of olive oil and saute the onions for about 2-3 minutes until translucent and even slightly browning. Add the potatoes and more oil so that the oil is roughly halfway up the level of the potatoes (they will shrink and settle). Keep this over medium heat and gently move the potatoes around to cook evenly. The potatoes should become soft and be essentially cooked after 15-20 minutes. Turn the heat to high for 3-5 minutes until the potatoes are a bit golden on the edges, but not deep fried crisp. Remove the potatoes and onions and drain them on paper towels. Season with kosher salt to taste. Add some cracked black pepper if you desire, though most recipes don’t seem to bother with the pepper, which puts little flecks in the finished product.


After about 5 minutes of draining, transfer the potatoes to a bowl, add roughly 5 large eggs, beaten. Mix gently and let this all soak in for a few minutes. Judge the volume of potatoes that you have and the size of pan to be used (best to use same pan for minimal clean-up, but I sometimes use a smaller pan to make a thicker omelette) then set the pan on high heat, add some of the olive oil left over from frying the potatoes and slide the potato and egg mixture into the pan, jiggling the pan a bit to prevent serious sticking. Turn the heat down to low-medium and cook for a few minutes.


Flip this “torta” onto a plate, add more oil to the pan, and slip the torta back onto the pan, cooking 2-3 minutes more. Remove from the pan, cool and then later cut into little cubes and serve at room temperature. Simple, easy, and done well ahead of your guests arrival for dinner or lunch…



  1. Zita says:

    My mum used to make something similar to this when I was a kid. We used to have it as breaky on a weekend. I miss her cooking more now that she’s gone. Thanks MM for posting.

    Jul 26, 2010 | 8:21 pm


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  3. Betchay says:

    My mom cooked potato omelette cubed and served in wedges when we were young.I will do this tomorrow for breakfast.

    Jul 26, 2010 | 8:29 pm

  4. Lou says:

    My Spanish friend have taught me to add half or a small amount of minced red bell pepper for color.

    Jul 26, 2010 | 10:59 pm

  5. Carmen says:

    The potatoes must be fried slowly and covered and you can add some onion as well that should be fried before and alone.
    In the south of Spain we usually add some little pieces of salty ham (jamón serrano) too.
    One trick: If you have a meeting at home, you can prepare the potatoes early in the morning and after you beat the eggs (one egg one big potatoe), add the salt, and before mixing with the potatoes, add just two or three spoons of milk. It will be really tasty!

    Regards from Spain

    Jul 27, 2010 | 1:00 am

  6. psychomom says:

    what a coincidence, i just saw Tyler Florence (Food Network)make the exact same thing while he was in Spain!!! will have to make it as my son loves potatoes. thanks!

    Jul 27, 2010 | 1:08 am

  7. Footloose says:

    Actually more national than either paella or gazpacho because of its popularity among all classes all over Spain, tortilla española was one ever-present dish that I came across wherever remote corner of Spain I ventured in the few years after restoration of democracy there, when things were still pretty rough in most regions outside the major urban centers. That and bread pudding both of which I came to associate with poverty (theirs and mine). Made unsuspectingly very good by the high quality of local olive oil, the fresh country eggs, the proud care and the expansive gracia of the people who served them.

    In case you are interested, if you are on a Mac, the tilde is option n, see all the symbols you will ever need here http://tlt.its.psu.edu/suggestions/international/accents/codemac.html

    Jul 27, 2010 | 2:51 am

  8. linda says:

    I love this dish and like Lou I add strips of red capsicum for taste and colour.

    Jul 27, 2010 | 4:03 am

  9. atbnorge says:

    When we are a bit tired of dippy eggs but couldn’t do without an egg dish, I do this with potato strips (I sometimes use frozen pommes frites as they’ve been fried a bit in processing) and I add a chopped up wurst— breakfast!

    Jul 27, 2010 | 5:52 am

  10. millet says:

    my dad made this exactly like this, and he liked making it for us on sunday nights. whenever my mom ran out of ideas for sunday night supper, my dad would go off to make “tortilla”. i miss him.

    Jul 27, 2010 | 6:34 am

  11. quiapo says:

    Lou, Linda, you can add whatever your creativity inspires you; I often add chopped jamon serrano; turning the omelet onto a plate is an art, and when I make large omelets for guests, I place the pan under the grill, and when nearly done, sprinkle some parmesan on top, which toasts nicely.
    The use of white pepper avoids the flecks.

    Jul 27, 2010 | 7:07 am

  12. junb says:

    Yup it’s similar to mum’s cooking. The only difference is we eat it with fried rice along with either tuyo, purefoods/swift hotdog, tocino, longganisa etc….

    Jul 27, 2010 | 9:38 am

  13. Blackwidow, Laguna says:

    We call this fritata. My mom would cube the potatoes, sauteau garlic,onion, tomato and a sprinkling of ground meat. She would cool the mixture, then add the eggs. She would make little fritatas from the mixture, using the platito as her mold.
    This is a regular staple in our household, especially on a rainy day when she’s lazy to go to the market. I love eating this with kanin lamig and lots of katsup.

    Jul 27, 2010 | 9:58 am

  14. joyce says:

    this is my spanish friend’s favorite go to tapas recipe when inviting people over to his place. oh and the espadrilles already arrived! thanks for the shopping tip. im looking forward to wearing them in the warm weather

    Jul 27, 2010 | 10:36 am

  15. adam says:

    Thanks MM, your timing is impeccable – for some reason I have been craving this for a few weeks now. Coincidentally I then munched my way through something similar at the White Space on Sunday and resolved to make at home asap. Already looking forward to tonight’s dinner!

    Jul 27, 2010 | 12:31 pm

  16. Clarissa says:

    I used to request something like this for breakfast when I was younger, except that the potatoes were cubed, and yes, eaten with rice and catsup (the banana based one!) :) I realized I had too much carbs on my plate with the potatoes and rice, so I stopped requesting for it. :) But I ought to go back to eating, just because I miss it :)

    Jul 28, 2010 | 2:10 pm

  17. rita says:

    thanks for the recipe! i love tapas. too bad, the tapas/spanish restos here in town closed down. guess, the germans are not really crazy about this style of cooking?

    Jul 28, 2010 | 5:47 pm

  18. Footloose says:

    Don’t you like using orthographic symbols? I think they are neat and stylish. You know, tilde for your ñ if you use Mac is option n, cedilla for Niçoise is option c, accent aigu for paté is option e, etc. I even use diaeresis ( option u) now as in preëminent and coöperate which startled my (older) friends as though all of a sudden I started dotting my i’s with tiny hearts.

    Jul 28, 2010 | 6:42 pm

  19. sunflowii says:

    ooh! would love to try this!
    question, MM. why do you need to flip the torta and put it back in the pan? is it just to brown that side or some other reason? would it still taste good if you didn’t do this second frying?

    Jul 29, 2010 | 3:49 am

  20. dodi says:

    Tortilla-patata as my father (who passed away just recently) used to call it, was one of the first dishes my father taught his kids how to cook. His lechon and goat meat dishes were sought by family and friends. Now, I really miss him and his cooking too.

    Jul 29, 2010 | 12:34 pm

  21. Marketman says:

    sunflowii, best to flip so both sides get cooked/browned properly. If you don’t flip, maybe a few minutes in a hot oven would cook the top of the omelette, but you risk burning the bottoms. Footloose, I have always wondered how to get the ñ and NOW I know…hahaha. Thanks.

    Aug 2, 2010 | 7:10 am

  22. Carlos Maglutac says:

    You could slide the mixture onto a plate first. Then put the pan over the plate and turn it rightside up.

    Aug 7, 2010 | 4:57 am


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