Spanish omelette or Spanish tortilla is a traditional dish from Spain and one of the signature dishes in the Spanish cuisine. It is an omelette made with eggs and potatoes, optionally including onion. It is often served at room temperature as a tapa.
Tortilla de patatas
Tortilla de papas
|Course||Tapas, Appetizer or Main course|
|Serving temperature||Room temperature|
|Main ingredients||Egg and potatoes|
|Variations||May optionally include onion|
It is commonly known in Spanish-speaking countries as tortilla de patatas, tortilla de papas or tortilla española.
The first reference to the tortilla in Spanish is found in a Navarrese document, as an anonymous "Mousehole's memorial" addressed to the Navarra region's court in 1817. It explains the sparse conditions of Navarre's farmers in contrast with those in Pamplona (the capital) and la Ribera (in southern Navarre). After listing the sparse food eaten by highlanders, the next quote follows: "…two to three eggs in tortilla for 5 or 6 [people] as our women do know how to make it big and thick with fewer eggs, mixing potatoes, breadcrumbs or whatever."
According to legend, during the siege of Bilbao, Carlist general Tomás de Zumalacárregui invented the "tortilla de patatas" as an easy, fast and nutritious dish to satisfy the scarcities of the Carlist army. Although it remains unknown whether this is true, it appears the tortilla started to spread during the early Carlist Wars.
Another tale is that the recipe was learnt by Spanish prisoners captured after the Battle of Montes Claros during the Portuguese Restoration War in 1665. After the Portuguese victory, more than 6,000 Spanish soldiers were kept in captivity for 3 years until the 1668 Treaty of Lisbon was signed. Upon their release, these prisoners brought part of the culture of Alentejo to Spain, including many recipes, which featured a potato egg pie that evolved into the modern version of "tortilla".
As the dish has gained international popularity, and perhaps to avoid being mixed up with the thin flatbread made out of wheat or maize popular in parts of Latin America such as Mexico and Central America, the española or Spanish naming gained traction. As such, Spanish omelette or Spanish tortilla are its common names in English, while tortilla española is formally accepted name even within the peninsula.
Consumption and traditional recipeEdit
The two main options are either with or without onion in it, with consumers almost always having a preference. The addition of onion is often controversial, and sometimes may be related to the tenderness of the local varieties of potato. The indication of whether a tortilla includes onion or not is expected from restaurateurs, and industrial producers market both options.
The most common procedure to cook a Spanish omelette is as follows:
- The potatoes, ideally a starchy variety, are cut into thin slices or small dice.
- They are then seasoned and sautéed in vegetable oil, ideally olive oil, with sliced onions being added at this stage if used. These ingredients are stirred at a moderate temperature until they are soft but not brown.
- The potatoes (and onions, if included) are then removed, drained, and mixed with whisked eggs.
- This mixture is then returned to the pan and slowly grilled, turning the omelette to grill both sides.
- Once the eggs are cooked on one side, a plate is placed over the mixture so the pan can be inverted.
- The mixture is then slipped back into the pan to cook the other side.
The omelette may be eaten hot, at room temperature, or cold; it is commonly served as a tapa. As a tapa, it may be cut into bite-size pieces and served on cocktail sticks; a large tortilla can be cut into triangular portions (pincho de tortilla) to be eaten as a finger food.
A very large tortilla was made by 12 chefs in Vitoria, Spain, in 2014, who claimed it to be a record. It was 5 m (16 ft) in diameter, and used 1.6 tons of potatoes, 16,000 eggs, 150 l (33 imp gal; 40 US gal) of oil, 26 kg (57 lb) of onions, and 15 kg (33 lb) of salt[dubious ].
Tortilla de Betanzos is amongst the most popular Spanish omelettes, characterised by being softer or "runny"
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- ASALE, RAE-. "tortilla". «Diccionario de la lengua española» - Edición del Tricentenario (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-11-02.
- ASALE, RAE-. "patata". «Diccionario de la lengua española» - Edición del Tricentenario (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-11-02.
- ASALE, RAE-. "papa¹; papa²; papa³". «Diccionario de la lengua española» - Edición del Tricentenario (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-11-02.
- Cloake, Felicity (2010-07-29). "How to make a perfect Spanish omelette". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
- "Tortilla Española | Definition of Tortilla Española by Lexico". Lexico Dictionaries | English. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
- Bittman, Mark. "Spanish Tortilla Recipe". NYT Cooking. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
- JamieOliver.com. "Spanish tortilla recipe | Jamie Oliver egg recipes". Jamie Oliver. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
- "Tortilla Española - Cultura española". www.enforex.com. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
- Vigo, Faro de. "La auténtica tortilla española". ocio.farodevigo.es. Retrieved 2019-11-02.
- 20Minutos, "Poco hecha y sin cebolla, ¿es la tortilla de Betanzos la mejor del mundo?" - 5 octubre 2020
- "Trucos para Preparar una Deliciosa Tortilla de Patata" [Tricks for making a delicious potato tortilla]. Palacios.es (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 January 2016. A typical recipe
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