Tortilla española and pan con tomate – a move to savory

Believe it or not, I do actually eat savoury food! And as part of my New Year’s Resolutions I have vowed to write more about my savoury endeavours on here.  The main reason for not writing about these before is that my savoury recipes are predominantly intuition-led. If they work, they work. If not, there’s always pasta and sauce in the cupboard.

One dish that has become almost second nature, and therefore one of my favourite comfort dishes, is tortilla española and pan con tomate, or spanish potato omelette with bread and tomato. First discovered in a crowded, cluttered yet immensely inviting tapas bar on Calle Laurel in Logroño, tortilla has become both a talking point at a table surrounded by friends and a staple on my weekly menu.  It’s not complicated and it’s not spectacular but after the inevitable overindulgence at Christmas and New Year, this is exactly what I was craving: my comfort food blanket.

Tortilla española and pan con tomate
Serves 2

For the tortilla

2 large potatoes, unpeeled
1 onion, chopped
Vegetable oil for frying
6 eggs
salt and pepper

For the pan con tomate 
Stick of bread, sliced (allow 2 or 3 slices per person)
1 tomato, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil (I use flavoured oils such as lemon oil)


  1. Pour approximately 2cm of vegetable oil into a medium frying pan and place over a medium heat.  Without peeling, slice the potatoes into 2-3mm thick slices.  Make sure the oil is hot enough by placing one of the smaller slices of potato into the pan. If the oil starts to sizzle and the slice of potato floats, the oil is ready.  The oil should not be smoking!
  2. Place the rest of the potato slices into the pan and allow to cook until the slices are tender.  This time will vary slightly depending on how thick your potato slices are.  Keep turning the potatoes throughout. After approximately 5 minutes, add the onions and continue to stir. The potatoes and onions should not brown.  If you see them starting to change colour, turn the heat down slightly.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  4. When the potatoes are tender and cooked, remove the potatoes and onions from the pan using a slotted spoon, draining off as much excess oil as possible, and place in a separate bowl.
  5. Pour any excess oil from the pan into a small bowl, leaving enough to coat the bottom of the pan. Pour the whisked eggs into the pan followed by the potatoes and onions.
  6. With a fork, stir the eggs as they begin to set until half cooked but still runny in places.  Leave to cook for a further couple of minutes until the eggs are almost completely set.
  7. While the tortilla is cooking, mix together the tomato, garlic and basil in a bowl. Season to taste. Top each of the slices of bread with the tomato mixture and drizzle with olive oil. For an extra twist, drizzle a flavoured oil, such as lemon or chilli oil over the tomatoes.
  8. To finish the tortilla, you have two options.  You can either turn the grill onto a high heat and place the pan under the grill until the eggs are completely cooked on top.  This is not the way I was taught to finish a tortilla but I can’t deny that it is the easiest option!
  9. Or you can use the method that I learned from my flatmates in Spain: place a large plate over the top of the frying pan (the plate must be larger than the frying pan) and quickly tip the the frying pan over until the tortilla is sitting on the plate. Gently slide the tortilla back into the frying pan with the uncooked side on the bottom of the pan. Don’t worry if the eggs have left a slight residue on the plate, the eggs don’t need to be completely set before you turn the tortilla. Leave to cook for two minutes more.
  10. Turn the cooked tortilla out onto a place, slice and serve with the pan con tomate and a nice glass of rioja.
The tortilla can also be cut into squares and each square served on top of a piece of bread for a comforting snack, starter or hors d’oeuvre.


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