Oven Baked Tortilla Española (Spanish Omelette)
Tortilla española…. where to start with this amazing dinner? First of all, I suppose we should get some definitions straight. Nine times out of ten when someone mentions “tortilla” they are referring to a round flat bread-like thing that is used all over Central America for enchiladas, tacos, etc. Not so in Spain where a tortilla is a delicious baked omelette made from eggs and potatoes and served as a tapa or entree for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I was in Spain a long time ago, but I still remember the delicious tortilla. Often it’s served with a piece of crusty bread, and it’s usually served at room temperature. The traditional preparation for Spanish tortilla involves frying the potatoes in oil, as well as inverting it on to a plate and sliding it back in to the skillet to finish cooking on the stove top. I have made tortilla española in this way, and it is delicious, very delicious. In addition to being delicious, though, it’s also high maintenance as it requires babysitting potatoes over the stove, a lot of oil and the whole inversion trick. I recommend making tortilla this way for an authentic Spanish party or when you want to feel all chef-y. This is the recipe I have used when I make it that way. For the rest of the time, when you just want a no fuss dinner or tapa, I recommend the oven-baked method. It is nearly identical in taste and texture to the original, and much quicker to prepare and the only inverting is at the very end when you put it on a plate. (And you don’t even have to do that if you don’t want to. So there.)
The distinctive feature of the Spanish Omelette is the egg to potato ratio. The function of the egg is more to bind the potatoes together than anything else. It’s much more potatoey than eggy. (Yes, spell check, “potatoey” and “eggy” are words because I say they are!)
There is nothing cheaper than this dish! Eggs, potatoes, olive oil, onions and (if you have it lying around) parsley. Truly a dish for when there’s nothing in the house. Also, a word on the potatoes: Yukon Gold are best for this recipe, but I make it with whatever potatoes are lying around, and it’s still delicious.
Oven Baked Tortilla Española – Adapted from Food and Wine Magazine
2 pounds potatoes (Yukon Gold. preferred) – peeled and sliced in 1/4 inch rounds
2 large onions, thinly sliced
6 large eggs
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
A handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped (optional, and not traditional, but adds a nice color and a little flavor)
Salt & Pepper
1. Place potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Add 1 t. salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 7 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Lay potatoes out on a kitchen towel or paper towels to dry. Pat dry.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat 2 T of the oil in a 12 inch oven proof skillet* and cook the onions over medium heat until brown (10-15 minutes.)Remove from heat.
3. Crack the eggs in a large bowl and beat until pale yellow in color. Gently stir in potatoes, onions, and parsley and season generously with salt and pepper.
4. Heat the remaining 2 T oil in the same skillet that was used to cook the onions. Pour in the egg mixture and cook (undisturbed) for about 2 minutes, or until the bottom of the tortilla is set.
5. Transfer the tortilla to the oven and cook for 20 minutes, or until eggs are set, and and potatoes are tender. Remove from oven and cool for five minutes.
6. To remove the tortilla from the pan, run a knife around the edge and invert on to a plate. Cut into wedges and serve.
*Note: I’ve had a lot of requests about what kind of skillet/pan to use. This is a great option.