Tortilla Espanola | Cary Downtown Farmers Market

Tortilla Espanola

Chef’s Corner

Article by Mitch Samples


We have a new vendor at the Cary Downtown Farmers Market.  LB Farms started with us last week and they bring some gorgeous items with them.  They have a beautiful arrangement of potatoes, carrots, and snap peas.  Seeing these gave me the idea to share a recipe that we don’t often see prepared at home much in this country, though it is easy to do.


Tortilla Espanola is a simple, yet elegant dish composed almost entirely of ingredients you can get at the Market on Saturday.  This recipe from the Basque region of Spain most likely originated during war time as a quick, nutritious way to feed the struggling armies of the day.  It relies on not much more than eggs, potatoes, onions, and olive oil.


The most difficult part of this recipe is the flip, which I explain in the recipe.  If you don’t feel up to attempting this, you can always finish it in a 350-degree oven just like you would a frittata.


Serve the tortilla up with fresh snap peas or an arugula salad and you’ve got yourself a great meal.

Tortilla Espanola

  • 8 large eggs
  • Salt
  • ½ C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 ½ lbs. potatoes, peeled and slice into ¼ inch thick half-moons. Waxy potatoes like red, or Yukon work best, but any kind will do
  • 1 large onion, sliced thin


  • In a large bowl, beat eggs until solid yellow, a little frothy and set aside.
  • Add the Olive Oil to a 10” nonstick or cast-iron skillet (Make sure it is oven proof if you are going to finish in the oven)
  • Heat the oil over medium/high heat until shimmering
  • Carefully add the potatoes and onions to the oil, allowing them to gently bubble and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. It is ok if the potatoes break up.
  • When the potatoes are just soft, season gently with salt and stir them well into the egg mixture, making sure to break up the potatoes and coat them well with egg.
  • Bring the pan back up to medium and gently add the egg, potato, and onion mixture.
  • In about 3 minutes, when the bottom and sides begin to set, gently press the edges in with a heat proof spatula to form the traditional cylindrical shape of the tortilla.
  • Continue to cook for about 3 minutes more until the edges set, adjusting the heat to keep the bottom from burning.
  • NOW THE FLIP. Working over the counter or sink place a large overturned plate over the top of the tortilla in the pan and swiftly invert the tortilla onto it
  • Place the pan back on the heat, add about 1 Tbs more of oil and carefully slide the tortilla back into the pan raw side down
  • Cook the second side until it begins to firm up, again using a spatula to push the side in to form the traditional puck shape.
  • Continue cooking until it is set through but still tender in the middle
  • Turn the tortilla out onto a plate and serve with some fresh snap peas, or arugula and a little garlic aioli.


Again, if you don’t wish to try the flip, you can finish the tortilla in a 350-degree oven in about 15 minutes just like a frittata.  Just make sure your pan is oven safe.  Here is a good video illustrating the process.  His ingredients are a little different than mine, but the technique is the same.  You will see the flip at 4’10” mark.


If you have any questions, please contact Mitch at  I am here for you.

Open Saturdays | April-Oct: 9a.m. - Noon | Nov-Mar: 9a.m. - Noon | 135 W. Chatham St., Cary, NC