The Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish omelette) is a must-to-try traveling in Spain. This tasty appetizer is made with just four ingredients, and easy to make. Besides the classic Tortilla, it is possible to prepare several delicious variations with other vegetables, or meat, or cheese. The Spanish tortilla is perfect for a quick lunch or a special brunch, but also at any other time of the day! Here the classic recipe and the history of Tortilla de Patatas!
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ORIGIN OF SPANISH TORTILLA
The first pieces of information about the Spanish omelette as we currently know it comes from the XIX Century. A letter dated 1817 and directed to the Navarre court, describes the conditions of extreme poverty of Pamplona’s farmers, so much that they were forced to use just 1/3 egg per person in their Tortilla de Patatas.
One of the most popular legends about the creation of the Spanish omelette tells of a visit of the General Tomás de Zumalacárregui during the siege of Bilbao (1835) at a farmer’s house. The wife of the farmer offered the Basque commander a meal based on Tortilla de Patatas.
Another theory described in the book The Potato in Spain wants the origin of the Tortilla in the city of Villanueva de la Serena, in 1798, thanks to the property owner Joseph de Tena Godoy with the intent to stop the famine in the countryside.
Besides the legends, the origin of Tortilla de Patatas is almost certainly more ancient and probably influenced by the Aztecs. The documents of the Conquistadores certified in 1519 the trade of Tortillas made with eggs and potatoes in the Tenochtitlan market.
TORTILLA AND TAPAS
The Tortilla de Patatas has always been a peasant recipe. The farmers use to prepare omelette and bring them for lunch during the long days of harvest. The tortilla was also one of the main meals of the Spanish soldiers during the military campaigns.
Nowadays, Tortilla de Patatas is a national dish and eaten at any hour of the day. The Spanish omelette is a protagonist of tapas, the small plates selection traditionally paired with the wine in the Tabernas.
The Tortilla is commonly served at room temperature, often over or between two slices of bread, and paired with tomato sauce or mayonnaise.
CLASSIC FILLING AND DELICIOUS VARIATIONS
Golden potatoes and white onions compose the traditional filling for the Spanish omelette. But, the Tortilla is often prepared in several different ways.
The meat lovers can’t miss the Tortilla with spicy chorizo or Jamon (the Spanish ham).
Other vegetable options are spinach or green peppers.
The Spanish Tortilla is also frequently stuffed with cheeses like Queso Manchego in addition to some of the other ingredients described above.
In Madrid, the Tortilla is served with the Salsa Brava, a particular spicy tomato sauce.
These are just some of the most popular variations of Tortilla, but the sky is the limit, so just follow your creativity!
TORTILLA DE PATATAS TIPS AND SUGGESTIONS
Onions and potatoes are traditionally slow cooked, almost boiled, into the oil. But, over the years, some chefs prefer to golden brown a little the vegetables using less oil.
Once cooked until soft but still in shape, the onions and potatoes have to be raised from the oil, rested until they reach warm temperature, then soaked into the egg mixture for about 30 minutes in the fridge.
TORTILLA DE PATATAS RECIPE
- 8 large eggs
- 1 (330 g) big onion
- 6 (700g) medium potatoes, peeled
- 2 cups extra-virgin olive oil
- to taste table salt
- FIRST STEPS
First of all, peel and cut into halves the onions, then cut them into thin slices. Now, peel the potatoes and reduce into thin slices as well.
- OIL BOILED POTATOES AND ONIONS
Pour the potatoes and onions into a 10-inches non-stick pan, possibly 2-inches deep, along with the olive oil, then place over medium heat. Finally, cover with a lid and cook until the vegetables are soft and well done, but not entirely mushy. The vegetables have to boil slowly into the oil.
- TORTILLA FILLING
Once done, place a sieve over a bowl and sift the potatoes and onions letting seep the oil into the bowl. Save 4 tbsp of sifted olive oil. Now, crack the eggs and whisk them into a bowl. Once the potatoes and onions reach warm temperature, salt them to taste and combine with the eggs and further 8 pinches of salt.
- COOKING SPANISH TORTILLA
Pour 2 tbsp of sifted olive oil into the pan, and place over medium/low heat. After that, pour Tortilla filling into the pan and cook detaching the Tortilla from the edges of the pan with a spatula as the mixture is going to solidify.
- FLIPPING AND SERVING
Once the Tortilla is almost ready, place a large dish over the pan and invert onto the plate, then pour 2 tbsp of sifted oil into the pan, slide the Tortilla and cook the other side 5 minutes more.
Serve Tortilla warm or at room temperature.
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