Tortilla de patatas is like home for us Spaniards. Similarly to freshly baked baguette with cheese, crêpes or a beef bourguignon for the French, sauerkraut or Semmelknödel for the Austrians, Wasa or mom’s cinnamon buns for the Sweds, the Germans and the bratwursts… Tortilla is a direct trip to our home country. It’s a typical Saturday lunch food that we’d eat with some roasted chicken and salad, and that it would also be great for Sunday night when we’d put together the leftovers from the weekend – yum.
Tortilla also used to be our we-just-arrived-from-a-trip food so it always marked the “aaah” moment of when we arrived home from being somewhere else. Like a sign saying “Welcome Home!”, but on our plates.
As popular as it is among all (or 99.9% of Spanish people), I’ve found myself making it less often now that I live away from home. When thinking about this I realised it’s because of the unhealthiness that comes with it: fried onions, fried potatoes, add some eggs, salt…t. The “unhealthiness” is the cooking method (fried), really, and the amount of oil used in the process too. So what if I could make a tortilla, just as delicious, without the frying and the crazy amounts of oil? Well that’s a challenge I like.
The main difference in this tortilla version then is the fact that I only use about 2-3 tbsp of olive oil instead of 2-3 cups, and that the potatoes are baked until soft, instead of fried. This recipe is obviously an experiment and, like many other things, it is improvable.
I’m quite satisfied with the first round, though, and I’ve adjusted the initial recipe based on the learnings I’ve taken:
- Bake potatoes at 180-190º, not lower (would take too long) or higher (would toast and crisp, but we want them soft).
- Use a big-enough bowl to mix all ingredients, and let the ingredients sit together for at least 10 minutes before cooking the tortilla.
- The thinner and smaller the potatoes, the quicker they bake and also the better they mix in with the eggs and onions.
Below is the recipe I followed, with some minor adjustments. If you try it out, please let me know! I’d love to hear.
I hope you enjoy!
Recipe: TORTILLA DE PATATAS, NON-FRIED
Total time: 45 mins
Notes: this tortilla serves 3-4 people
- 1 white large onion
- 2 large / 3 medium potatoes
- 4 eggs
- olive oil to cook, 3 tbsp max
- Preheat oven to 190º. Peal the potatoes and chop in thin slices. Place on a baking tray and bake for 25-35 minutes, check the oven regularly to make sure they don’t crisp too much or burn.
- Place a sauté pan on the stove, set to medium heat and pour some olive oil, enough to sauté and poach the onions. The diametre of the pan you use is up to you: a smaller pan will result in a smaller but thicker tortilla; a larger pan will result in the opposite. I used a smaller pan this time.
- Chop onions roughly and once the oil is hot, add them to the pan and stir well. Cook for 5 mins, add some salt and stir again. Onions will be ready once they become soft and golden-brown (slightly caramelised). Set onions aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk 4 eggs.
- Once potatoes are cooked and soft enough, remove from oven and add them to the egg bowl, together with the onions. Stir well. You can add a pinch of salt here if you’d like.
- Take the same pan as before or a new one, place on the stove at medium heat and pour a tsp of oil. If you use the initial one, make sure to wipe any residual onions so ensure nothing burns when you cook the tortilla.
- Once oil is hot, reduce heat to low-medium, pour the tortilla ingredients from the bowl into the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Then helping yourself with a flat plate, flip the tortilla and cook it on the other side for 1-2 minutes. Ta-daaaah!
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