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Need help with my tortilla espanol


I've tried for the second time to make tortilla espanol following Jose Andres's recipe only to have the eggs come out too fluffy. Not that there's anything wrong with fluffy eggs, but I'm looking to make more of a creamy omelet. Does anybody know what I'm doing wrong? Is my heat to high? Do I need to beat my eggs some more?

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  1. hi. i am not familiar with the exact recipe you used but when i googled it a recipe with heavy cream turned up, which i think is not necessary and overkill. it’s meant to be a very simple and humble dish. my husband and i have really worked on perfecting our tortilla espanol and it gets the seal of approval of our barcelona born friend.

    basically, we thinly slice a bunch of nice yukon gold potatoes in our food processor and mix them up with healthy bit of kosher salt. we then add them to a non-stick pan with about ½” of extra virgin olive oil. gently stir them being careful not to break them. after 5 minutes add 1 medium red onion which has been chopped finely. again, take care not to brown the potatoes – adjust heat accordingly.

    in the meantime, beat egg or nine eggs and add some pepper and some freshly chopped flat leaf parsley. when the potatoes are finished cooking drain off all the olive oil and add them to the egg mixture carefully. then put the entire mix back into the non stick pan over medium heat. you may cover the pan at this point. after about five minutes, check to see if it is setting well around the edges and if and when it is, slide it onto a big round plate. then, carefully (!) put the pan over the plate and flip the whole thing. this is hairy but once you get it, it’s like riding a bike. put back on the heat to finish and either slide it off when done, or do the reverse flip.

    i apologize for not being specific about some of this recipe. it’s really trial and error! let me know how you do!

    p.s. love the name "miss needle". are you a nurse?

    1. It sounds like you're adding too much egg (or too little potato). You can add more potato to the mixture, or reduce the number of eggs you use. Once in the hot pan, don't fuss around too much with it and finish beneath the broiler. That should fix the fluff.

      1. Do the potatoes need to be boiled first or can you make it with raw potato?

        4 Replies
        1. re: mainsqueeze

          Raw potato. My parents both make tortilla espaňola all the time. I find it's not as easy as they make it look! I have tried & failed. They use e.v. olive oil(lots), sliced potatoes, onion, garlic and eggs, and salt of course. They start by cooking the sliced onion, adding the potatoes, letting them cook (takes a little bit of time), adding garlic (paste they make themselves) and then the beaten eggs. I would have to ask how much of each. Then it's knowing when to flip it. It's an art.
          When I tried to make it, it came out like a potato omelette unfortunately, not like a tortilla.

          1. re: morebubbles

            That is largely how I learned to make it (except no garlic). And instead of flipping it, I put it beneath the broiler. And in all my years of eating/making tortilla española, not once did it come out "creamy."

            To the OP: My mother might have been an awful cook, but given that we ate tortilla at least once a week, I think she knew what she was doing with this one. You can aim for dense, you can aim for dry, but you don't really want "creamy." The way this is prepared, if your eggs are creamy, you either prepared scrambled eggs and hash or undercooked your eggs.

            1. re: JungMann

              JM, yes, my parents the garlic-hounds! comes out pretty good though; agree with the other comments as well.
              mainsqueeze, I think you (me too) need to add more potatoes, for one. It's all in the practice (but since my parents make it so well...). Sometimes they add chopped dried chorizo, jamon serrano, soppresatta or other cured meat, or spinach. I believe they use a large non-stick only used for tortilla.

            2. re: morebubbles

              Morebubbles, mine always comes out that way too. I have a hard time getting it to be really dense, like the ones I've eaten in spain.

          2. I'm not familiar with Jose Andres or his recipe, but I'm a little confused about "creamy" - to me that's more a question of how htoroughly the eggs are (or are not) cooked. But it may be that "beating" the eggs at all, let alone "more", is the problem? Assuming this is the generally "frittata"-like thing I know as a Spanish omelette (tortilla), all you really want to do is mix the eggs enough to break up the yolks some with a fork - blend, but don't incorporate more air than necessary.

            1. What kind of skillet should I be using?

              1 Reply
              1. re: mainsqueeze

                Morebubbles has the right idea. Use a large non-stick pan. The 9" should do the trick for a 6 egg tortilla.

              2. Another question for everybody - I make my tortilla espanola in a cast iron skillet, because my only nonstick is a 12" pan and that is too much for 2 people. I heat the oil and pour in the egg/potato mixture. Once it has set a little, I stick it under the broiler. By the time the middle is set the bottom has a thick, dry brown layer that is not great. Any ideas? Do I need to use a different pan? I

                8 Replies
                1. re: MalinDC

                  I think you need to lower the heat -- making this is more like poaching than frying.

                  1. re: MalinDC

                    I think the purpose of the flipping is to avoid this.

                    1. re: mainsqueeze

                      the denisty of our tortilla espanol is similar to the density of those i have eaten in spain and in good tapas bars here in the states. you don't want too much egg, but just enough to coat and cover each slice of potato. speaking of which, you should always used sliced potatoes rather than cubed or chunked so there is no room for big globs of egg between the bits, which also takes away from the density.

                      p.s. i am sure i don't have to say this - no nonsticks under broiler unless you're looking for tears.

                      1. re: potterstreet

                        I think cubing might have been my problem. My mother cubes hers and somehow she gets it to work. I will have to ask her how she does it.

                      2. re: mainsqueeze

                        Flipping: place a large plate on top of the skillet, turn the skillet&plate upside down, then slide the tortilla off the plate onto the skillet again, which will now be uncooked side down.

                          1. re: mainsqueeze

                            I asked my parents, they say when it starts to move around & they can see on the sides that it starts to get golden.

                    2. Thanks to everybody for the responses. I guess my use of "creamy" was not quite accurate. I meant to say dense and silky. I think what I did wrong was having a too large of an egg to potato ratio. Guess practice makes perfect.

                      1. I have been meaning to type out this recipe for years. It was from the Gourmet "You asked for it" in August 2004, but it is not on Epicurious. It is the quintessential tortilla recipe for me, that works everytime. Here is the paraphrased recipe.

                        Better late than never?

                        Josefina Perez’s Tortilla Espanola

                        Serves 6 -8

                        2 4–5 inch Spanish chorizo 6 ounces total
                        1 cup olive oil
                        2 large russet (baking) potatoes (1 lb total), peeled and cut crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices (2 cups)
                        1 large Spanish onion (3/4 pound), halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices (2 cups)
                        2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
                        1 teaspoon salt
                        7 large eggs
                        1 bunch scallions chopped (1 cup)
                        1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

                        • Cover chorizo by ½ inch water in a 1 quart saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cutting board. When chorizo is cool enough to handle, cut into ¼ inch thick slices
                        • Heat oil in a 10 inch non-stick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then reduce heat to moderately low and carefully add potatoes, onion, garlic and ½ teaspoon of salt (oil may splatter). Cook, stirring occasionally 10 minutes, then add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes more.
                        • Drain potato mixture in a colander set over a bowl, reserving drained oil and cool 10 minutes. Set skillet aside.
                        • Light beat eggs in a large bowl, then stir in potato mixture, scallions, parsley and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt.
                        • Add 1 tablespoon reserved oil to skillet, discarding remainder, then add egg and potato mixture and cook over low heat, covered, until side is set but center is still loose, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered 15 minutes.
                        • Shake skillet gently to make sure tortilla isn’t sticking (if it is sticking loosen with a heatproof spatula). Slide tortilla onto a large flat plate and flip it back into the skillet. Cook, covered, over low heat 10 minutes more. Slide tortilla onto a plate and cool to room temperature and then cut into wedges.