Tortilla Española

While the biggest drawback to brunch is that one often must get up early to make it happen, the biggest advantage to brunch is cocktails in the noontime and naps in the last hour or two of daylight (at least this time of year) after everyone goes home.

With brunch, it’s possible to make an effort socially while still getting to bed at a reasonable hour, or to entertain one’s friends and then entertain different friends in the evening, or to just say to hell with it and spend the evening sitting around watching re-runs of Arrested Development in your pajama pants because you pulled out your a-game in the a.m.It’s also an excuse to serve breakfast foods, which everyone knows are the best foods. It’s an almost insurmountable challenge to try to pass off anything but the most ornate egg dish at a dinner party; at brunch, the lack of such dinnertime intricacy is a relief.

Every January, a group of six friends and I gather for a New Year’s brunch. The official purpose of the meal is to share our resolutions for the new year and to gripe about the year before, but for me it’s an excuse to bring out my nice wineglasses and try out a few new dishes. Of course, it’s important to have a dish you’re sure will please on the menu, and that’s where my old standby, Tortilla Española comes in.

This is a dish that you can mostly make ahead, which comes together in the last few minutes, as people are getting settled. It’s endlessly adaptable; I’ve made it with carrots, zucchini, and yams, and you can add any spice you like to make it your own. The recipe comes from my friend Paul, who learned to make it in Spain – ideally, this will have a golden brown top, but the top stuck this time to the pan. No matter, it’s equally delicious and just as pretty with it’s rough top missing, with just a quick sprinkle of parsley.

Tortilla Española

  • 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 lbs. yellow-fleshed potatoes, sliced thinly (1/4 inch)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

In a 12-inch pan, over medium-high heat sauté the onion in two tablespoons of olive oil until translucent. Add potatoes, tossing to coat in oil and onion mixture, then add water and cover with a lid. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 20 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to prevent sticking.

Remove the potatoes and onion from the pan and cool for ten minutes (spread out over paper towels and left until there’s no more steam), and heat the broiler. Wipe out the pan.

Whisk together six eggs, some salt and pepper, and heat another tablespoon of oil in the pan, tipping the pan to coat the whole bottom. Mix potatoes into the eggs, pour the whole thing into the heated pan. Run a spatula along the sides (you don’t want this to stick) every so often, and when the sides are golden (five, six minutes), then shove it under the broiler until the centre sets and the top is golden. Another three minutes, maybe five, but leave the oven light on and check frequently.

Turn out onto a dish and serve hot, with salsa and yogurt.

Photos for this post are courtesy of Christine at Bloodhound: Hunting Down Inspiration.


From Vancouver, BC.

Emily is an eater/writer/amateur gardener from Vancouver, BC. She eats seasonally and locally, and believes in the importance of becoming acquainted with local food producers, going on local food adventures, and dining at restaurants that support local farms. She owns at least four pairs of eating pants and is perhaps too eager to talk about her cat. Her favourite food is mashed potatoes.

You can also find Emily by visiting her blog, well fed, flat broke.

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