What are some good Mexican potato dishes

Tortilla (spanish, potato)

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The Spanish potato tortilla (a type of potato omelette) should not be confused with the tortilla from Mexico (Mexican flatbread). It is quick and easy to prepare and consists mainly of potatoes and eggs. Along with gazpacho and paella, it can be regarded as one of the central Spanish national dishes.

Many Spaniards have happy childhood memories of the delicious tortilla - in the countryside, workers used to take them with them as a snack to work in the fields. The tortilla is still very popular today - for example, you can buy it packaged and cut to size in supermarkets in Spain.

Similar to an omelette but definitely not regarded as such by the Spanish, the tortilla in the basic recipe is made from the ingredients potatoes, eggs, olive oil and salt. There are many optional additions to the basic recipe. Vegetables, fish or sausage can be added to the tortilla to refine the taste. In addition, the various parts of the country have their own regional preparation methods. In Madrid, the tortilla is prepared with onions and garlic in addition to the basic recipe. In Catalonia they even add more garlic.

The history of the tortilla

As with every national dish, there are of course many different versions of the history of the tortilla's origins.

One version says that the tortilla was once invented by a poor farmer who had to come up with a creative way to appease his ever-hungry king. Another version of this story says that a peasant woman had to feed a general during the Carlist Wars, but only had onions, potatoes and eggs in stock. The first tortilla was created out of this emergency situation. In 1817 the tortilla was first mentioned in an anonymous letter to the Spanish parliament, in which the poor living conditions in the province of Navarre were described.

Wherever exactly their origin was; the tortilla gained more and more popularity over the centuries. The Spanish tortilla is also common in Tunisia and Algeria. At the beginning of the 20th century it was considered good and cheap food for poor people who could not afford anything other than the basic ingredients of the tortilla - potatoes, oil, salt and eggs.

Interesting facts about the tortilla

In order to distinguish the Spanish tortilla from the Mexican tortilla, it is often referred to as “tortilla de patatas” (roughly “tortilla of potatoes”).

The tortilla is often incorrectly referred to as "Spanish frittata" or "Spanish potato frittata". But that's actually wrong: tortilla is the Spanish dish, frittata is the Italian egg omelette.

There is no one-size-fits-all recipe for the Spanish tortilla. The following is the very classic variant of the tortilla - just like the ones that the workers have with them when they work in the fields - an extremely tasty variant.

Original recipe for classic Spanish tortilla de patata

Tortilla de patata (classic Spanish)
  1. Wash, peel and chop the potatoes. The potato pieces should not be thicker than 1 cm and approx. 5 cm long. Peel the onion and cut it into small strips.
  2. Heat enough olive oil in a pan. It is best to add the potatoes first. The potatoes should not "fry" in the olive oil, but cook slowly and soften. Therefore, do not set the temperature in the pan too high. Later add the onions and sauté in the oil.
  3. Meanwhile, break the eggs and place in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt. Mix the eggs well. The tortilla becomes particularly fluffy if the egg mixture is mixed with a little air (with a wooden spoon or whisk).
  4. Take the cooked potatoes (do not let them brown!) And onions from the pan and let them cool down. Then add both to the egg mixture and let it steep a little.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium heat (a non-stick pan with a diameter of 24 cm is ideal). Against the mixture of potatoes and eggs in the hot pan.
  6. The first half of the roasting process is done when the outermost layer has solidified and is already a little brown, but before it burns (after about 7-10 minutes).
  7. Now the tortilla needs to be turned. Ideally, you have a second pan of the same size and this is already heated. Then place the second pan upside down on the first and turn both pans 180 degrees so that the side that has not yet been fried is in the pan and can fry. If you don't have a second pan, you can also take an oiled plate, place it on the pan, turn the whole thing over and let it slide from the plate back into the pan. Professionals can also try to throw the tortilla without any further tools and catch it upside down in the pan.
  8. Now fry the other side again until it turns brown.
  9. Give the tortilla time and don't turn the heat too high, otherwise it will be too brown on the outside and not yet cooked through on the inside. You can also pierce the tortilla with a smooth point to see whether it has already set completely inside.
  10. Serve the tortilla at room temperature. To do this, cut them into pieces like a cake - either on a large plate or each piece individually as tappas on a small plate.

Under no circumstances save on olive oil and buy an oil that is as high-quality as possible. The taste of the tortilla will be noticeably better.

Add a little parsley to taste.

Recipe variants

You can also add various vegetables, e.g. paprika, as ingredients to the tortilla and thus achieve different flavors.

Sources of supply

Tortilla grill pan
Heavy, cast iron pan (approx. 2kg) for a good roasted taste.
Suitable for tortillas, but also other omelets or pancakes.
Diameter 25.4 cm with raised edge, from StanSport, approx. € 19

Special pans

These pans make turning the tortilla easy because they are double pans (just close, turn and open again).

Omelette pan for induction and virto
Made of high quality aluminum. Non-stick coated. From MGE World.
24 cm, black. Total height 8cm, approx. € 28, -

Spanish tortilla books

Tortillas, panqueques and omelettes (in Spanish)
32 pages of only tortilla and omelette recipes of various variations.
And the Kindle version is inexpensive for a few euros.
It's a shame that this is only available in Spanish.

approx. 32 pages, approx. € 3.50

FAQ Tortilla - short questions, quick answers

What is tortilla (de patatas) from Spain?

Tortilla, fully called "tortilla de patatas", is a Spanish potato omelette. It is an easy-to-prepare dish made from potatoes and eggs, as well as onions, and can be considered one of the major national dishes of Spain.

What ingredients do you need for tortilla?

The main ingredients are potatoes and eggs. Also some onions, good olive oil, coarse salt and pepper. A little parsley or various vegetables can also be added for variations on the original recipe.

What is the difference between tortilla de patatas and tortilla francesa?

The tortilla de patatas ("potato omelette") is the classic Spanish potato omelette that contains many pieces of potato in addition to eggs. The dish called tortilla francesa (“French omelette”) in Spain is a pure egg omelette (without potatoes), as it is prepared in many countries.

Is tortilla vegetarian?

Although Spanish tortilla does not contain meat, it consists largely of eggs and is therefore not suitable for a strictly vegetarian diet. For ovo-vegetarians or ovo-lacto-vegetarians who allow at least eggs or eggs and milk in their diet, tortilla is a permitted dish.