This picture was taken in Parque Güell, (Güell Park) with the beautiful city of Barcelona, Spain, as its backdrop. I was visiting the city over the summer, and I was fortunate enough to have a guided tour of the park by my cousin Karina. Not only was it my first time in Barcelona, but it was the first time I’d ever met my cousin. I did not know what to expect as she spoke no English and I speak Spanglish. After giving a tour of the park she asked, “Tienes hambre?” (Are you hungry?) After a long, hot day in Barcelona I said, “Claro, que si!” (Of course!) Then the most amazing thing happened. Karina said she was going to make an authentic Spanish dinner. I had to hold my composure, I was too excited to finally get a home cooked meal.
We went to a small market near her house, and got fresh ingredients for dinner. I noticed that she only bought a few items, and we headed to her apartment. In my head, I thought, that’s it? What could she possible make with a few eggs, onions, and a couple of potatoes? When we got back to her house, like any gracious host, she told me to make myself comfortable, while she made dinner. I then asked her, “Estas Loca?” (Are you crazy?) I’m not going to miss out on an opportunity to learn how to make an authentic Spanish dish. I’ve got to bring this recipe home. She laughed and agreed. I’m glad I stayed in the kitchen, because not only did I learn how to make a Tortilla Española, but I got to know a beautiful woman who until a few hours ago was a complete stranger. Most of my family immigrated from El Salvador, to the US, while she went straight to Barcelona, as a child, and stayed. She never learned how to make most of the Central American delicacies that I was raised on. She was a true, Spaniard, right down to her accent. Karina is a strong, eloquent, kind, independent spirit, reminiscent of most of the women in my family. I quickly realized that we had a lot in common, even though she was raised 4,031 miles away from the rest of us back in the US. She lives by her own rules, and doesn’t take crap from anyone. When life is tough, she pushes on with a smile on her face. What an amazing woman, I’ll never forget our first meeting, and am so thankful to call her family. To think, I learned all of this, in a small kitchen, making eggs.
Cook Time: 45 minutes, including prep. time
Ingredients (Commentary? Yes, Please.)
1 Medium onion
I prefer a yellow onion, it’s sweeter.
5-6 Small to Medium Potatoes
For this recipe I used a mixture of potatoes, like red, yellow, and purple, but regular potatoes also complement this dish well. If you cannot find this mixture of potatoes then use yellow (Golden Yukon) potatoes.
1/4 cup vegetable oil, or olive oil
1 Tablespoon Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper – to taste
You can also add cooked meat, bell peppers, other vegetables (think large omelette or frittata). However, this dish is known for its simplicity, it tastes just as good with only the eggs, potatoes, and onions.
Peel and cut the onion, it does not need to be minced, so don’t worry about cutting it precisely.
Wash, peel and cut potatoes. Not too thin (like for an au gratin), but not too thick. You want to be able to saute the potatoes fairly quickly.
Heat oil, in a medium nonstick saute pan.
Transfer potatoes to pan, season with garlic, salt and pepper. Let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onions and let cook for another 5-8 minutes. In the meantime, while the onions and potatoes cook, beat all 6 eggs (as if you were going to make scrambled eggs) into a bowl. Once the potato and onion mixture is cooked through, transfer to a small nonstick lyonnaise pan (a saute pan, usually used to make omelets). Add the eggs. Prepare the eggs like you would an omelette, letting the bottom cook, while only scrapping the sides to allow for the liquid to move to the sides and cook. You’ll want to make sure the eggs are almost cooked through, with little uncooked egg left on the top. About 5 minutes. Once the tortilla looks 90% done, flip the egg onto a medium to small plate. If there is a little liquid from the eggs don’t worry. Using a spatula, slowly slide the tortilla back into the saute pan. Return the pan to the stove and fully cook the eggs for another 5 minutes.
A tortilla is a traditional Spanish tapas dish. Unlike most egg dishes, this one is usually made for dinner, and goes great with bread, sliced tomatoes, cheese, I like a saltier cheese, like Asiago, and cured meat. Enjoy!