Tortilla española, or tortilla de patatas, as it is known in Spain (not to be confused with tortilla francesa, which is an egg omelet), is a dish you will find all over Spain. It is often served as a sandwich on crusty bread, and when we visited Spain in April of 2012 we had it just that way. It is also served as a tapa, cut into small portions. It is also, not surprisingly, a great picnic food, because it travels well and can be eaten hot or cold.
Although the classic tortilla is made with just the potatoes and onions, you should feel free to add other vegetables (peppers are often added), or bacon if you like. I use pancetta in my recipe, but it is really up to you whether you do or not.
5 waxy potatoes (red skinned, although Yukon Gold will also work)
6 large eggs
1 large yellow onion, sliced into half moons
salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces pancetta (optional)
Olive oil for cooking
Peel the potatoes and slice them thinly on a mandoline. Pour a little oil into a preheated 12 inch nonstick skillet (you can use a well-seasoned cast iron skillet but the important thing here is to use a skillet that the tortilla won’t stick to) and add the pancetta. Cook until the pieces begin to brown slightly. Remove from the pan. Add more oil if needed and add the onions. Cook the onions until they become soft and translucent. Remove from skillet. Add more oil and the potatoes, and cook for about ten minutes, turning carefully so that you don’t break the potatoes. The potatoes should be cooked through at this point.
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs adding salt and pepper. Add the onions, pancetta, and potatoes. Mix gently and let stand for a few minutes so that the egg absorbs into the potatoes.
Add more oil to the skillet if necessary. You don’t need a lot of oil, but you need just enough to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Gently pour the potato mixture into the pan and level the top. Cook until the tortilla is set.
Using a large plate or a cutting board, invert the tortilla and flip it into the pan to cook on the other side.
This may seem tricky at first, and I find it to be easier with a cutting board. Cook the tortilla on the other side for a few minutes, then carefully slide onto a cutting board.
You can cut it into serving pieces at this point or let it cool and wrap it to take along to a picnic (which is what I did).