Tortilla Española Is Comfort Food for Carb Lovers

Chef Lili Dagan is finding comfort in carbs this week. Here’s her recipe for Tortilla Española, a classic Spanish dish that works for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Growing up, every morning my mom would send me to the bus stop with a microwaved russet potato. Every morning! Maybe it wasn’t a traditional snack, but I always enjoyed gnawing on an 8oz spud on the way to go learn about civics. To this day, I love pure, unfussy carbs. 

the finished tortilla espanola
Asparagus, ramps, eggs

For the past few weeks, I’ve been revisiting my love for potatoes. I’ve changed the menu a bit, but this Tortilla Española is still anything but fussy: it’s hearty, it can stay in the fridge for days, and you can make it with just about anything in your fridge. It’s elegant enough to make a lovely dinner, but still makes me nostalgic for the microwaved potatoes of my past. Best of all, it’s good hot or cold, which means the leftovers make a perfect lunch.

Recipe: Tortilla Española 

  • ½ cup Olive oil + extra
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 lb waxy potatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 cup asparagus or greens

A few notes to start: I love making a big tortilla, but sometimes it’s easier to start with smaller ones (I often make 2 small tortillas and bring one to my neighbors, because that’s what my mechanic told me to do.) As a general rule, I use 4 eggs to every pound of stuff in my tortilla. For this particular tortilla, I used 6 eggs and made two tortillas in a 6” non-stick. 

1. First, sweat the onions in ½ cup of olive oil. Add about a pound of thinly sliced waxy potatoes. Keep the heat on medium low, and stir it around until the potatoes are cooked, about 20 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked, add in whatever else is going in your tortilla. For mine, I leftover asparagus, a few stray ramps, and some sorrel. 

tortilla espanola filling
Strain the filling

2. After the greens have softened, strain the filling through a sieve, and set it aside in a bowl. Be sure to reserve the strained oil, it’s delicious. If I’m making toast to go with my tortilla, I’ll use this oil to fry it up. You could also use it for your next tortilla! Let it speak to you. 

3. Next, crack and whisk your eggs in a big bowl. Fold in your potato mixture. 

4. Drizzle a bit of oil into your non-stick frying pan. On low-medium heat, ladle in half the mixture. Cook until when you push the mixture away from the edge the bottom is starting to brown, about 3-5 minutes. 

5. The next bit takes a bit of boldness—flip your tortilla onto a large plate, and then slide it back into the pan to set the top (which is now the bottom, isn’t it funny how life works). Let the bottom set for another 2-4 minutes. 

flipping the tortilla
It just takes a plate and a little confidence

6. Slide it out and allow it to cool. Enjoy it with aioli, toast, a combination of both, or alone.