Día Mundial de la Tortilla

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The Grandest day has arrived! March 7th, International Day of the Spanish tortilla! You may wonder why it is the grandest. Wouldn’t the grandest be Constitution Day or something of the sort? And we’ll tell you no over and over again. ⁠If you want to know why then get ready because we are about to reveal the secret to Spain’s source of happiness: La Tortilla! ⁠

Origin of the famous Tortilla de Patatas

The story or legend that most know, is that this emblematic dish was invented in 1798, during the Carlista warsThe story tells how the general Tomás de Zamalacárregui ordered a humble farmer lady to prepare a dish for his troops that was a) cheap, b) filling and c) nutritious. In the whole of Europe the times were harsh, with food scarcities as a consequence. The country women then prepared the tortilla, today considered as one of the, or the, most important dish of the Spanish gastronomy.

Other studies, however, mention that the origin of the tortilla dates to even earlier years, around 1767. Documents have been found in which guisados (stews) and tortillas are mentioned. This makes us understand that the origin of this delicious dish is much simpler and humble. Truly, it perfectly represents the Spaniards of that era. It was a dish invented by local farmers who needed to prepare cheap food. Eggs and potatoes, the main ingredients of the dish, were easy to obtain as they were always readily available.

Setting the origin aside, the potato tortilla has become the most famous dish in the whole of Spain, therefore, it can be found in almost every single bar and restaurant in the country.


How to prepare a great tortilla?

Let’s start with the basics. The main ingredients of Spain’s main source of happiness are potatoes, eggs and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Depending on the region, the time of the year and people’s personal preferences, we have added different ingredients to the recipe, making different variations. Some basic ingredients that are often added are (caramelised) onions and garlic. Other ingredients that can be added are cheese, mushrooms, spinach, tagarninas (Scolymys hispanicus), asparagus, bell peppers, tomato, ham, chorizo, sausage, olives, fresh herbs… The list goes on and on.

As you can see, the combination of flavours and ingredients is endless. Yet, one thing is certain. The key to making, not a good, but a great tortilla, is using quality ingredients. And I am no only speaking about eggs and potatoes. Here in the Mediterranean we especially make reference to quality olive oil. The olive oil of good quality has a fantastic flavour that will penetrate your ingredients and create a marvellous gastronomic experience. Spain is known for its delicious cuisine, and the main reason is that the products used in their cooking are seasonal and come straight from the land. The more local, the better they will taste and the more nutritious they will be.


How to make a tortilla?

We will explain the process of cooking the simple tortilla española in just a few easy steps. After reading this blog, you will want to get cooking straight away. First let’s prepare the ingredients: 3-4 medium sized potatoes, 4-6 eggs, depending on size and how liquidy you like your tortilla. Further, 1 onion, 2 cloves of garlic, olive oil, salt & pepper to taste.


  • Peal and cut the potatoes into 1cm cubes.
  • Peal and finely chop the onion and garlic.
  • Cook the potato cubes in water and a pinch of salt until they are tender.
  • Heat a generous amount of olive oil in a skillet on medium heat.
  • Add the cooked potatoes and fry until golden brown and crunchy.
  • While the potatoes cook and fry, add the onion and garlic to a skillet on low-medium heat and cook until fragrant and translucent.
  • In a large mixing bowl, break the eggs and beat until well mixed.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Combine the golden brown potatoes and the cooked onion and garlic with the egg mixture.
  • Mix well for a homogeneous mixture.
  • In a pre-heated skillet, add some olive oil.
  • Add the ingredients mixture on low fire and cover with a lid.
  • Without stirring, cook until the bottom is golden brown and the eggs at the top have set.
  • Lift tortilla gently with a spatula to check the colour. When golden, the tortilla is ready for the magic flip!
    • Either you can slide the tortilla onto a large plate and flip back into the skillet.
    • Alternatively, you can opt for the brave move. Flip the tortilla in the air like you would with a French crêpe.
  • Place the tortilla upside down in the skillet and finish cooking.
  • Continue cooking until the eggs have set.
  • If you prefer a more liquida tortilla, cook for less time so that the eggs don’t set entirely.
  • Slide the cooked tortilla onto a plate.
  • Let cool down a few minutes before cutting into portions.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.
  • You can eat it by itself, or with mayonaise, bread…
  • Like we already mentioned, the tortilla is an incredibly versatile dish, meaning you can get as creative as you want. Just enjoy!


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Danielle Ernstsen | 7th March 2024