Spanish Tortilla

I just noticed that I passed the half way mark in my quest to make 100 new recipes in 2010. Given that the year is more than half over, I’m a little behind the pace. But I’m feeling good about it: the weather is warm and I’m in the mood to cook.

A Spanish Tortilla is similar to an omelet or frittata; it has no relation whatsoever to a Mexican flour or corn tortilla. The recipes are here and the garlic mayonnaise is here.

Spanish Tortilla with Potatoes, Onions, Peas and Roasted Red Peppers.

Start by slicing potatoes and onions thin and and cook for 30 minutes in a 10-inch skillet. Beat together 8 eggs, 1/2-cup peas and 1/2-cup diced roasted red pepper, then add the cooked potatoes and onions to bowl. Add everything back to hot skillet, cooking the first side for 4 minutes. Flip using the plate-to-plate method, and then add back to skillet to finish the other side for 4 minutes.  Let rest on a cutting board for 15 minutes before slicing.

Rating: 4-stars. The tortilla was good; balanced flavors, firm texture. The potatoes were slightly (perhaps 5 minutes) undercooked. But the tortilla itself has very mild flavors; so the Garlic Mayonnaise was important. This was the major problem; The Garlic Mayonnaise was an utter failure. The amount of ingredients was so small that the food processor was ineffective; ending with a sauce like consistency.


  1. The first flip was a disaster. The tortilla broke and didn’t quite make it all the way onto the plate.  To recover, put everything back into pan and ended up giving it an extra plate-to-plate flip. In the end, nobody could tell.
  2. Overall cooking times seem to low; the tortilla took 4 minutes rather than 2 minutes for the egg to get spotty brown. Also, I think 35 minutes would have been better for the potatoes.
  3. Garlic Mayonnaise, which is a traditional accompaniment, did not turn into mayonnaise.  It stayed liquefied and I used as a sauce. It was so unappealing that I almost didn’t bring it to the table, but the taste was good nonetheless. I just told people it was a sauce rather than mayonnaise.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $5.75
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 5:00 PM. Dinner time 6:15pm

14 Responses to Spanish Tortilla

  1. kxx says:

    There was a big discussion about the flip on this one when it was first published. The consnesus was to flip it by putting a plate on top of the skillet, flip, and slide back into th skillet.

  2. lanier says:

    I second the recommendation for using the plate to flip the tortilla. We’ve only done the version with chorizo and scallions, and I haven’t bothered with the garlic may since the first time because we didn’t feel like it added much. My guess is that the chorizo adds enough to flavor that the mayo isn’t necessary.

    • Yes, the chorizo and scallions sounds like it has more flavor than peppers and peas.

      But I’m not sure what Spanish chorizo is; I only know Mexican chorizo. I know in general Mexican food is completely different than the same thing in other Latin countries. Did you find Spanish Chorizo? What’s the difference?


  3. lanier says:

    Spanish chorizo is a smoked pork sausage made with smoked paprika. It’s very different from Mexican chorizo!

  4. John Petry says:

    Regarding the garlic mayonnaise, generally speaking homemade mayo is much runnier than store bought as store bought contains all sorts of thickeners which homemade does not. Our mayonnaise is actually based upon a French sauce dating back to the time of Napoleon so in fact your sauce was probably spot on for what it was supposed to be.

  5. Kelly Horn says:

    What do you need to make this? Like ingredients, Because there not up there?

    • Hi Kelly,

      The links to the recipe are in the post. The links used to open-to-public but Cooks Illustrated changed the permissions to require a subscription to see the recipe. I will get in trouble if I cut/paste the directions, but here is the ingredient list (not copyrighted). Next time I make it I will post the steps that I took to make it.

      6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
      1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (3 to 4 medium), peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices
      1 small onion , halved and sliced thin
      1 teaspoon table salt
      1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
      8 large eggs
      1/2 cup jarred roasted red peppers , rinsed, dried, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
      1/2 cup frozen peas , thawed


  6. Carina says:

    When my mother lived in Spain she used to make it all the time. I don’t remember the portions of the ingredients she used, but all she used was potatoes, eggs, salt, and parsley. The parsley added great flavor and that’s all it needed.

  7. Jayne Thomas says:

    Your site is so cool! I just found it today. I hate the website for ATK: so difficult to navigate and then as part of a current recipe they’ll refer to an older one and you can’t get that unless you subscribe. Very cheap. Thank you!

  8. Anonymous says:

    The tortilla looks great! But I think it looks a little thick – maybe try less ingredients or larger pan. Perhaps it would be easier to flip. On the Aoli / mayo – you have to add the oil in extremely small amounts in the beginning almost a few drops at a time if you are using a whisk. – its’s some sort of chemical reaction that causes it to emulsify — sort of like making a ceasar dressing with egg.

    I always use my food processor when I make mayo I’m real careful in the beginning. I learned this from Alton Brown a while back.

  9. carmen says:

    This is not a Spanish tortilla. At all. Really annoyed at CI for this recipe. It’s like cooking fried chicken with 2 teaspoons of oil.
    If you don’t fry/comfit the potatoes you loose all the flavor. An no peas or peppers or nothing but potatoes (and onions).
    The cooking technique for the potatoes and onions is what makes a tortilla so different from a fritatta or similar. If it is correctly done, that is.

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