Spanish Potato Tortilla

One balmy October evening in a small pintxos bar in Barcelona, I had my first Basque Potato Tortilla, and it changed my life. Well not really, but it was pretty damn good. So good in fact that I returned to that bar for that dish and others, more than once during my 4-day stay. 

Basque Potato Tortilla (c)

So what are pinxtos? They are the Basque version of Spanish small plate dishes. In this style of tapas, the food is traditionally served attached to a piece of crusty bread by a cocktail stick.  Sitting at the bar, I had no idea what to order or expect, so I asked the waiter to bring a sampling of the most popular dishes to try. When he put the tortilla in front of me, I was a bit confused, how could I have possibly come all this way and my first experience with authentic Spanish tapas was with an open face egg sandwich? Then I took a bite.

Cue the dramatic movie music. The egg was airy, fluffy and the potatoes were perfectly seasoned and cooked. The egg to potato ratio was perfectly synced so that in every bite you got the just enough of each to balance the dish. It was seriously poetic! My paltry words aren’t really doing it proper justice.

Basque Potato Tortilla (c)

On that same trip, “M” and I were driving though through northern Spain on our way to France, when we stopped in one of the towns along the way. Once again, we had this simple, tasty potato and egg dish, with a loaf of crusty golden bread, and a ½ litre of rioja wine. Sigh!!! Now that's good living. 

Last Christmas, a good friend got me a copy of Dorie Greenspan’s book – Around my french table – and lo and behold there was a recipe for a Basque Potato Tortilla. Last Sunday, some friends of ours dropped by unexpectedly, and they were hungry. So, I hosted an impromptu brunch, and treated my friends to my version of a Basque potato tortilla.

Buen Provecho!

Spanish Potato Tortilla

yield: 4 Servings  prep time: 15 minute(s)
cook time: 14 minute(s)  total time: 29 minute(s)


3 1⁄2 tablespoons
Olive Oil
1 pound
Potatoes (peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
Onion, coarse chopped
2 cloves
Garlic, finely minced
Sweet Pepper medium (diced)
1⁄2 teaspoon
Spanish paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste


  1. Sauté onions, peppers, and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the onions are translucent remove both from pan, set into a bowl, then add the potatoes to the hot oil.  Cook until the potatoes are golden and tender when pierced. After 20 minutes or once the potatoes are cooked, remove from the skillet and add to the onion mixture.
  2. Turn oven onto the broil setting.
  3. In another bowl, beat the eggs with salt, pepper and Spanish paprika, then add to onion, pepper and potatoes mixture.
  4. Return the skillet to the heat, then add remaining 1½ tablespoon to the hot skillet, and once the oil is hot add the potato and egg mixture.  Cook on stovetop for 2 minutes or until the egg begins to set. Run a spatula around the edge of the skillet to release the tortilla. Then cover the pan and cook slowly until the top is set. Run the spatula around the edge of the skillet and under the tortilla to prevent sticking. The top may will still be a bit jiggly.
  5. Place pan under the broiler and let cook until the top is set and the tortilla is a nice golden brown (1½ - 2 mins)
  6. Let cool, then serve.


(Adapted from Dorie Greenspan - Around my french table)