Classic Spanish Tortilla

Idaho® Russet potatoes star in this simple albeit complex Basque dish for their texture, flavor absorption and starch content – all essential to celebrate a classic comfort food from Northern Spain.


  • 4-5 medium Idaho® Russet potatoes (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 Spanish onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup canola oil, or as needed
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed, divided
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • 10 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sweet pepper sauce, warmed (optional)


  1. Peel 4 potatoes, then rinse under cool running water and cut lengthwise into quarters. Cut the quarters crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices. You should have 4 cups of potato slices. If you’re short, cut up another potato.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine the potatoes and onion and add the canola oil and 1/2 cup of the olive oil, adding more of each if needed to cover. Add enough salt to season the vegetables, not the oil. Place over low heat and cook until the vegetables are tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the heat; drain the vegetables, reserving the oil. Set the vegetables aside. Carefully strain the oil through a fine-mesh strainer and store in the refrigerator for another use.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a 9- to 10-inch nonstick frying pan over high heat. While the oil is heating, in a bowl, beat the eggs with 1/2 tablespoon salt just until blended. If you’re not squeamish about raw eggs, taste them and adjust the seasoning. Add the reserved potatoes and onion to the eggs, folding them in with a heat-resistant spatula to combine.
  4. When the oil is smoking, swirl it up on the sides of the pan to prevent the tortilla from sticking. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and toss the mixture aggressively (as if sautéing it or flipping pancakes), about 3 times, then stop to give it time to form a skin. Prod the mixture with the spatula around the edges to give it shape and to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Begin to shape the sides of the tortilla by using the spatula to pull the mixture gently from the sides of the pan, shaking the pan to make sure the mixture isn’t stuck.
  5. When the egg just begins to set, after about 1 minute, turn down the heat to medium-low and cook for 2 more minutes.
  6. Invert the tortilla: Place a large plate on top of the pan. Firmly grasp the pan handle, choking up on it with the help of a kitchen towel. Place your free hand palm-down over the plate, and flip the pan and plate over together, dropping the tortilla onto the plate.
    Place the pan back on the burner, wipe it clean of any stuck-on bits and recoat it with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Heat the oil over high heat until it begins to smoke and then quickly and deliberately slide the tortilla off the plate into the pan, using a pushing-and-pulling motion. Pat down the tortilla and begin shaping its sides again. Cook for 1 minute. Repeat the flip-and-return process and reduce the heat to very low. Cook for another 2 minutes; you shouldn’t need more oil at this point. Repeat the flip one more time, cooking for 3 more minutes over low heat. Repeat the flip a final time to get the presentation side facing the bottom of the pan. Using a clean plate, flip the tortilla out so the pretty side is up.
  7. Spanish Tortilla tastes best if you let it rest for an hour before serving; do not refrigerate it. Cut into wedges to serve. If you do have to chill it, warm it slightly before serving. If using the sauce, warm it and spoon it over the tortilla just before serving.
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Yield: 8 servings (small meal), 12 servings (tapas)

Alex Raij
Txikito; El Quinto Pino; La Vara; Saint Julivert Fisherie
New York

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