What’s the first dish that comes to mind when you think about typical Spanish food? Hands up those who are thinking “paella”!
Well, paella is very popular. But it’s not a typical Spanish dish. Paella is really a creation of Valencian cuisine -the region of Valencia is on the Mediterranean coast.
Every region in Spain has its own traditional dishes. Examples are pulpo in Galicia or gazpacho (cold tomato soup) in Andalucía.
Is there any dish that is not particular to a region? The answer is… tortilla (omelette), a Camino classic. Unless you are alérgico a los huevos or vegano, I’m sure you will eat plenty of tortilla during your Camino.
First of all, I’d like to clarify some wrong informations I’ve seen about the name of the dish. One “useful-phrase” list I saw included the following translations:
- Tortilla – Spanish omelette.
- Tortilla de patata – Spanish omelette with potato.
- Tortilla española – Spanish omelette with ham and onion.
This is not correct. Basically, all three names refer to the same dish: an omelette with patatas (potatoes) and, in many cases, cebolla (onion) too. If it doesn’t have patatas, then we call it tortilla francesa (French omelette). And if it has jamón (ham), then it’s just a tortilla con jamón.
The first written records of tortilla de patatas date back to the 18th century. There are different theories about its origins, but they all have something in common: tortilla was created while trying to come up with a nutritious and filling food in times of poverty and famine.
OK, you’ve tasted it already and now you would like to recreate it at home. I’ll tell you how. It’s very easy!
First, we need to decide… ¿Con o sin cebolla? (With or without onion?).
This issue generates very heated debates in Spain. Some would argue that a “real” tortilla española must have onion, whereas other don’t think it’s an essential ingredient. You decide how to make yours!
You will need:
Patatas – around 300g
Huevos – 5 or 6
Aceite (oil) – plenty of olive oil to fry the potatoes. You can also use sunflower oil.
Here’s how to prepare it:
- Peel and thinly slice the potatoes. Chop the onion if you are using it.
- Pour the oil in a frying pan and heat. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes (and onion) and let them fry on a medium heat until they are golden.
- In a big bowl, crack and beat the eggs.
- Drain the potatoes (and onion) from the oil and mix them with the beaten eggs. The mixture should be runny. If it’s too thick, you can add more egg. Season with some salt. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes.
- You won’t need all that oil for the next part. So, you can just pour it into a container; if you’re using olive oil, you can reuse it a few times, when making your next tortillas!
- Put the frying pan back on the heat, with just a small amount of oil. When it’s hot, add the egg and potato mixture and let it cook for a few minutes. Give it a shake or run a spoon through the edges to make sure it’s not sticking.
- Then, the tricky part comes: get a plate that’s bigger than your frying pan and use it to turn the tortilla. Carefully flip the frying pan over the plate and tip out the tortilla, then slide it back into the pan. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until cooked through.
Your tortilla de patatas is ready. All you have to do is serve and enjoy!
Tortilla is a very versatile dish. The one you will find in most bars and cafés along the Camino will be the basic tortilla: eggs, potato and probably onion too. But you can add many ingredients to it: pimientos (peppers) are very common, chorizo, champiñones (mushrooms)… What are you going to add to yours?
Are you ready to cook some tortilla de patatas? Let us know how it goes and don’t forget to share your pictures!
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