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Tortilla Espanola

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The Spanish omelette or Spanish tortilla, also called simply tortilla in English is a typically Spanish dish consisting of a thick egg omelette made with potatoes and fried in olive oil. Sometimes other ingredients such as onion are added, although purists consider that the result is not authentic.


The potatoes, ideally starchy rather than waxy ones, are fried in oil (often olive oil) at a moderate temperature until they are soft but not brown, then drained, mixed with raw beaten eggs, and slowly fried in a pan. The tortilla is fried first on one side and then flipped over to fry on its other side. This may be done with the help of a plate or a "vuelve-tortillas" (a ceramic lid-like utensil made for this particular purpose), or by tossing it in the air and catching it in the pan. Other ingredients can be added, commonly: onions and peppers.

The tortilla may be eaten hot or cold; it is commonly served as a snack (tapa) or picnic dish throughout Spain. As a tapa it may be cut into bite-size pieces served on cocktail sticks (pincho de tortilla).


A Spanish omelette can range from an authentic and carefully-made seasoned preparation made from raw potatoes of a variety carefully selected for best results, eggs and good olive oil, and nothing else, through dishes with onions and many additional ingredients, to an improvised dish with leftover boiled or chipped (French-fried) potatoes (or even crisps (potato chips), various vegetables, sausages, etc. that happen to be at hand, cooked in vegetable oil or other fat.

Some of the many additions to the base ingredients for what is still called a Spanish omelette include: green peppers, chorizo, courgettes, aubergines, mushrooms, and diced ham. The tortilla paisana includes red pepper, and peas. The texture and thickness of the tortilla vary according to region and taste. In Spain tortilla is almost always accompanied by bread and frequently by pickles such as olives and gherkins. In many bars and canteens it is served in a bocadillo (a sandwich made with crusty bread).

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