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Tortilla de patatas - Spanish omelette recipe

Theo A. Michaels / 23 September 2020

Theo Michaels' take on the traditional tortilla de patatas, or Spanish omelette, is served with a zingy fresh salsa. It makes a delicious breakfast or brunch.

Tortilla de patatas
Photography by Mowie Kay.

Cooking time

55 minutes




For the Spanish omelette

  • 250 ml olive oil
  • 1 medium white or red onion, sliced
  • 350 g waxy potatoes, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 5 eggs
  • 60 g grated strong Cheddar cheese
  • 80 g smoked bacon lardons
  • 1/4 green (bell) pepper, deseeded and diced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

For the fresh tomato salsa

  • 150 g baby plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tablespoon finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 fresh green chilli, deseeded and diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

You will need

  • A 20-cm/8-inch non-stick, deep frying pan


The combination of eggs, potatoes and onions creates something that is more than the sum of its parts. Inspired by the eggs my dad used to hash together for us as kids, my tortilla-making technique might be traditional but the addition of other ingredients isn’t, and it’s the way I like it because it reminds me of those family breakfasts. Whatever you do, don’t overcook it, you want a slight wobble.

To make the fresh tomato salsa, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, season generously with salt and pepper, cover and set aside.

Add the oil and onion to a frying pan/skillet set over a medium heat and fry for about 6–8 minutes, or until the onion starts to caramelize, then add the potatoes and continue cooking for about 10–15 minutes more, until the potatoes soften.

Meanwhile, crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, season generously with salt and pepper and break them up with a fork (there is no need to whisk them), then tip in the grated cheese.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the cooked onion and potatoes from the pan (leaving the oil behind) and fold them into the egg mixture. Cover the bowl and let the mixture steep for 15 minutes, after which time the mixture will have thickened as the potatoes soak up moisture from the eggs.

Put the pan back over the heat and fry the lardons for a few minutes before adding the bell pepper. When the lardons have turned golden, add them and the pepper to the bowl with the eggs. Wipe the pan with paper towels, leaving a little residual oil.

Heat up the pan again and once it’s hot, pour in the egg mixture – it will fill most of the pan. Cook over a medium-high heat for about 4–5 minutes, until the tortilla is just pulling away from the edge of the pan, it will still be runny in the centre. Lay a plate larger than the pan over the tortilla, hold it firmly, then confidently flip it over so the tortilla is now resting on the plate and the pan is upside-down on top. Put the pan back on the heat and gently slide the tortilla off the plate and back into the pan. Continue cooking for just a couple of minutes, then place a clean plate back on top of the pan again and flip it out. Leave to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Sieve the fresh tomato salsa and discard the excess liquid. Spoon it in a little pile in the centre of your tortilla and serve.


This recipe is extracted from Rustica by Theo Michaels, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£16.99) Photography by Mowie Kay © Ryland Peters & Small


Love Mediterranean food? Visit our Spanish recipes or Mediterranean recipes sections, or try some of Theo Michaels' other recipes, including meat-free moussaka and flourless orange and almond cake. We also have a wide variety of breakfast and brunch recipes to start your day the right way.


The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.