Updated: Aug 9, 2020
If you have spent any time in a Tapas Bar, you have certainly come across a dish called "Tortilla Espanola." This dish is widely popular throughout Spain and celebrated on Spanish menus across the globe. Tortilla Espanola is an egg-based omelet, usually containing potatoes and an array of vegetables and hams. It is wonderful served with a salad or a fresh herb sauce, such as a Salsa Verde.
Tapas are small plates; dishes are usually just a few bites and can range from a bowl of almonds or olives to more elaborate seafood stews. Tapas Bars first became popular in the Spanish region of Andalusia. Legend tells us that the bars in this area would fill up with patrons drinking glasses of sherry. The namesake, "tapa," translates to "top." In Andalusia's summer heat, the sweet sherry attracts flies, so in between sips of sherry, patrons would place a piece of ham on top of their glass to act as a lid. Bartenders also found that if they put a few slices of salted ham out to snack on, people would consume more sherry to balance the saltiness. This was the beginning of the Tapas Bar. A place where people gather to drink, socialize, and eat small bites of food throughout the evening.
1 medium onion, sliced thin
1½ Lbs or about 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced thinly
4 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1½ cups olive oil
Toss onions, potatoes, and garlic in a bowl with a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Place mixture in an 8-inch nonstick skillet and pour oil over the top. Heat on medium heat. The mixture will gently bubble; this is the water coming out of the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are tender for about 20-25 minutes (cooking time may vary depending on the thickness of the potatoes.) Use a fine-mesh strainer to drain off and reserve the oil.
Whisk eggs well with a few pinches of salt. Add 3 tablespoons of the reserved oil to the nonstick skillet. Add the cooked potato mixture, spread into an even layer then add the whisked eggs. Turn the heat on medium. Cook, agitating the pan gently, so you do not break up the potato slices. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the potatoes away from the sides of the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low and continue to cook until the eggs begin to set throughout.
To flip the tortilla, place a large plate on top of the skillet. Take a deep breath and quickly invert the pan, so the tortilla falls onto the plate, then place the skillet back on the stove and slide the tortilla back into the pan to finish cooking the top side. Cook for five more minutes, then remove from heat. Slide tortilla onto a plate and serve warm or at room temperature.
Chef Liza Greifinger
Your Guide to Our Culinary Trip Around the World
Growing up in New York, surrounded by the flavors of the world, Liza developed a love for food and cooking. After a fulfilling career in outdoor education, she decided to explore her passion for food. Liza studied at The French Culinary Institute and then trained with some of the top chefs in New York City before being drawn to the mountains of Colorado. She joined the team at Food Lab, in Boulder, in the spring of 2016. There she teaches cooking skills and technique to all ages as well as curriculum development for the educational programs.