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Potato Omelette (Tortilla Española)

Potato Omelette (Tortilla Española)

Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 8 Serves 6 to 8.
Unlike most omelettes, a tortilla española is served at room temperature. It is the classic tapa, prepared all over Spain, but reputed to be best in La Mancha, a forbidding land of parched earth and aging windmills.


  • 1/2 cup plus 2 to 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 lb. baking potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/4
      inch thick
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 to 4 oz. serrano ham, diced (optional)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, roasted, peeled,
      seeded and cut into strips (optional) (see
      related tip at left)
  • Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish


In a large nonstick fry pan over low heat, warm the 1/2 cup olive oil. Add half of the potato slices and fry, turning occasionally, until tender but not browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a plate and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the remaining potato slices. Leave the oil in the pan.

In another fry pan over medium heat, warm the 2 to 3 Tbs. olive oil. Add the onions and fry until soft and golden, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool a bit.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until blended. Mix in the onions, ham and bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in the potatoes.

Heat the oil remaining in the large pan over low heat and pour in the egg mixture. Cook until the bottom is set and golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Invert a plate on top of the pan, invert the pan and plate together, and lift off the pan. Slide the omelette back into the pan and return to low heat. Cook until the other side is set, about 4 minutes. Slide the omelette onto a plate, garnish with parsley and cut into wedges.
Serves 6 to 8.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Spain & Portugal, by Joyce Goldstein (Time-Life Books, 2000).