Dinner in a Hurry — Spanish Tortilla

I’m having a crazy week with a lot of work deadlines. This means that dinner for my family (and this blog) is taking a back seat. After a long day of writing and editing, I was fried and it was getting late and my kids were getting mighty crabby, which means they were hungry.

I stared at the fridge, hoping some delicious leftover would jump out at me. No such luck for the kids as the only thing I had was some chili I made on Super Bowl Sunday (a recipe I hope to list here soon, but only after I try it again with some tweaks). The chili is made with chipotle chile powder, and so was too spicy for my girls, who hate spicy food. So, with little else, I decided to make a tortilla.

No, not a dough Mexican tortilla — a Spanish tortilla, which is an egg dish that is similar to a frittata made with potatoes and onions. They’re popular at Spanish tapas restaurants and are considered a humble dish of the people in Spain. As everyone in my house loves eggs, I decided to make this easy and fairly quick dish.

Anyone reading on should note that a traditional Spanish tortilla can take 20-30 minutes to make as you slowly cook the potatoes and onions before adding the eggs. I usually don’t have time for slow cooking on Spanish tortilla nights (as I only make it when I’m tired and in a hurry) so I take some short cuts that would horrify a traditional Spanish chef, or a lot of other chefs for that matter. I hope, however, that all of you tired and hurried parents appreciate my unorthodox methods for cooking this fabulous dish. In the end, I think my tortilla is still quite tasty and it’s the perfect dish for a crazy hurried evening.

Anyway, the great thing about a Spanish tortilla is that you probably already have the ingredients on hand. So the next time you need dinner in a hurry, give the Spanish tortilla a try and you can dream you’re in Spain instead of at the end of a long hectic day.

Spanish Tortilla

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Small onion

1 Small potato

4 Large eggs

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pan (I love to use one made of cast iron), heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add the onions, reduce the heat to medium-low, and saute for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cut your potato into fairly thin slices and blot them with a paper towel to absorb some of their moisture. Add the potatoes to the pan and saute for another 3 or 5 minutes.

Okay – here’s the unorthodox part: Add a little water to the pan (a couple of tablespoons worth) and quickly cover it. This will steam the potatoes so they cook faster. Cook the potatoes covered for a couple of minutes or until a fork can easily enter them. Uncover the pan and cook for another minute or two, browning the potatoes on each side. Add more olive oil if needed and salt and pepper to taste.

When the potatoes are golden brown, scramble the eggs, add some salt to them (about a 1/4 tsp) and then add them to the pan. Turn the burner to low and cover the dish. Cook until the eggs start to firm up. When the eggs are mostly firm, place the pan under the broiler for a couple of minutes. This will help you cook the center middle of the tortilla without drying out the rest of the dish.

Serve immediately with a hunk of good bread, if you have it, or a green salad, if you have the energy to make one.


4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    cataspanglish said,

    Hi Denise,

    you’re right iy’s certainly unorthodox and will probably result in you arrest if you ever come to Spain. However I will have to try it although my Spanish wife and son will probably make me sit in a corner and eat it alone…

  2. 2

    dslincoln said,

    Please let me know how you like it (and if your wife and son will go near it!).

  3. 3

    shirley said,

    that last line made me laugh. i’ve had (many) days like that where i can’t even muster the energy to toss a salad. you obviously know what that’s like!

  4. 4

    joejhorn said,

    Cool, nice work. I cooked a version today out of a Donna Hay magazine. IT was pretty cool. I’m going to make the more traditional version tomorrow morning to compare. I’m looking forward to trying to flip the mixture after I have partially cooked them.

    Here is the page on my blog if you are interested. Would love to hear any comments.


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