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Spanish Tortilla (Tortilla Espanola) with Salsa Romesco

Monday, 26 May 2008


This traditional tapa is not anything like a Mexican tortilla. A Spanish tortilla is a large, thick, omelet-like cake made with potatoes and eggs and is served at room temperature. Romesco sauce is an all-purpose Spanish sauce that is served with a wide variety of dishes. From the Tarragona region, this Catalan sauce combines two of the most popular horticultural imports from the New World---chiles and tomatoes. The sauce gets its name from the romesco chiles that are used but are not readily available outside of Spain. The combination of ancho and New Mexican chiles approximates the taste.


At a glance
Cooking Method
Heat Level
Appetizer/Hors d'oeuvre
6 wedges or 16 bite-sized appetizers


  • 3 pounds (approximately 10 medium-size potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/8-inch thick slices

  • 1/3 cup olive oil, virgin Spanish olive oil, preferred

  • 1 medium-size onion, thinly sliced

  • 6 eggs, beaten

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Romesco Sauce:

  • 1 dried ancho chile, stem and seeds removed

  • 2 dried red New Mexican chiles, stems and seeds removed

  • ½ cup blanched, silvered almonds

  • 5 large cloves garlic, unpeeled

  • 2 tomatoes, unpeeled

  • ½ cup red wine vinegar

  • 1/3 cup olive oil, virgin Spanish olive oil, preferred

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


To Make the Sauce:

 Preheat the oven to 200°F.

Place the chiles, almonds, garlic, and tomatoes on baking pan and roast the ingredients in the oven until the nuts are toasted, the chiles are fragrant, and the skins of the tomatoes and garlic are blistered. The nuts will take about 5 minutes, the tomatoes about 20, and the chiles somewhere in between. Check frequently to be sure nothing burns.

Allow the ingredients to cool. Grind the almonds. Place the chiles in a saucepan and cover with hot water and steep for 5 to 10 minutes to soften. Drain the chiles. Remove the skins from the tomatoes and garlic.

Put the almonds, chiles, tomatoes, garlic and vinegar in a blender or food processor and puree to a smooth paste.

Transfer the paste to a bowl and slowly whisk in the oil, 1 teaspoon at a time, until half of the oil is absorbed. Gradually add the remaining oil. Season with the salt and pepper.

Allow the sauce to sit for an hour or two to blend the flavors.

To Make the Tortilla:

Increase the oven to 350°F.

In a small roasting pan, toss the potatoes with the oil, cover, and bake for 20 minutes.

Uncover the pan and spread the onion slices evenly over the potatoes. Cover and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are just done. Remove the pan and pour off the oil, reserving it. Cool the potatoes to room temperature.

Season the eggs with the salt. Gently fold the potato and onion mixture into the eggs and mix carefully.

Heat a nonstick saute pan over high heat with a few tablespoons of the reserved oil. When it’s hot, carefully add the egg mixture. Allow the eggs to set on a high heat for a minute while gently shaking the pan so they don’t stick. Reduce the heat to the lowest temperature and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the mixture is firm.

Place a plate on top (upside down as you look at it) of the saute pan and flip the tortilla onto the plate. (Do this over your sink.) Reheat the skillet over high heat and carefully slide the tortilla back into the pan. Reduce the heat to low and cook the other side until it’s done, about 8 minutes. When the tortilla feels firm to the touch, it’s done.

Cool the tortilla to room temperature, slice it into wedges. When you are ready to serve the tortilla, spoon some of the romesco sauce onto a plate and place a wedge on top.



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