According to legend, during the siege of Bilbao, general Tomás de Zumalacárregui created the “tortilla de patatas” as an easy, fast and nutritious dish to satisfy the needs of the Carlist army (Don Carlos as commander-in-chief). Although it remains unknown whether this is true, it appears the tortilla started to spread during the early Spanish civil wars from 1815 onward.
500g Potatoes, peeled
3 tbs Olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
2 Large onions, chopped
5 Eggs, beaten
Salt and black pepper
Large handful grated parmesan, or shavings
Preparation and cooking
Cut the potatoes into slices, about 3-4mm thickness. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, then tip in the potatoes and onion. When they start to sizzle and colour a little, pour in 225ml water – this will splatter so be careful. Simmer potatoes for 10-15 minutes until tender.
Pour off any excess liquid from the potatoes, then tip the eggs into the pan, season and stir lightly to mix. Return the pan to a medium heat and cook the tortilla until set on one side, about 5-6 minutes. Place a plate on the top of the pan, hold it tightly and deftly turn it upside down so the tortilla comes out onto the plate. Add a bit of extra oil to the pan if it needs it, before sliding the tortilla back in to cook the reverse side – it only needs 5-6 minutes more.
Slide the tortilla onto a plate and cut it into wedges. Sprinkle over the parmesan, then drizzle with oil and serve.