Get Baked: The Other Kind of Tortilla

Yes, I realize that starting an article with a picture of two boys isn’t necessarily the best way to get your attention, but these are some serious tortilleros. That is: men who make tortillas. This is relevant to your interests because one of the rude ways to say “dyke” here is “tortillera.” I’m pretty sure it’s got something to do with the way you make mexican tortillas (those delicious flat little pieces of bread made out of corn or flour) and straight people’s ideas about what lesbian sex looks like, but I’m not entirely sure.

But back to the matter at hand. Besides being tortilla masters, these gentlemen are also my roommates: Pablo and Pablo. After ordering a seriously disappointing tortilla at a restaurant, Pablo On The Left told me that he could definitely make a better one. I waited a whole week before I cracked and came home with a sack of potatoes, requesting a tortilla for dinner.

Tortillas can be fat or skinny and can be filled with cheese, peppers, zucchini, onions or just plain old potatoes depending on where you are and who’s making them. Pablo On The Left’s mother makes them with just potatoes, so we went with what’s comfy. Which is really what tortillas are: the ultimate comfort food. The Pablos’ recipe makes enough for three people, but you can easily adjust the amount and proportions of ingredients you use if you’ve got more people or happen to like zucchini a lot more than potatoes.

Tortilla Española


5 potatoes
5 eggs
Lots of olive oil


1. Peel the potatoes and slice them into roughly identical 1/2 cm pieces.

2. Fill a large pan with olive oil and heat it. Because the Spanish love their fried foods, we keep a pan of oil in our oven so that it can be pulled out and used to fry up some patatas at a moment’s notice. We also have this handy little metal insert that goes into our pan so that we don’t have to fish for our potatoes in a giant vat of burning oil.

3. Add about half the potatoes (Pablo On The Right says that making sure you don’t add too many potatoes at once is one of the secrets to making a good tortilla) and fry them until they’re soft but not crunchy. It takes about five minutes and they won’t get very dark. Remove the potatoes from the pan and let them cool on a plate covered with a paper towel. Pablo On The Right’s second tip for tortilla excellence is to salt the potatoes after they’ve been fried, salt the eggs after they’ve been beaten, and then salt everything once it’s mixed together in the pan. With that in mind, salt those potatoes.

4. If you’re adding an onion or a zucchini, now’s the time to chop them up and fry them. Do it just like you did for the potatoes.

5. Beat the eggs in a bowl (add some salt!) and then add the potatoes et cetera and stir until everything is coated in egg.

6. Add a small amount of olive oil to a new pan, let it heat up nice and hot and then pour the eggy mixture in. You know what comes next, but I’m going to remind you anyway: salt!

7. The bottom of the tortilla will start to set quickly, so after about a minute, cover the pan with a plate, flip it over so the tortilla falls out onto the plate, and then slide it back in to the pan, uncooked side down. It’s probably not going to look very pretty at first, but that’s okay.

8. Let it cook until the center’s no longer slimy. We only cooked ours until it was just barely done, but I’ve had tortillas that were so done they almost had a crust and they were just as good.

9. Grab a beer and some jamón and you’re ready to eat!

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Laura is a tiny girl who wishes she were a superhero. She likes talking to her grandma on the phone and making things with her hands. Strengths include an impressive knowledge of Harry Potter, the ability to apply sociology to everything under the sun, and a knack for haggling for groceries in Spanish. Weaknesses: Chick-fil-a, her triceps, girls in glasses, and the subjunctive mood. Follow the vagabond adventures of Laura and her bike on twitter [@laurrrrita].

Laura has written 308 articles for us.


  1. it’s also quite good if you feel lazy and there are some left-over potatoes in your kitchen and maybe left-over veggies. you don’t even have to fry anything first.just throw it in there.sometimes I’m even to lazy to peel the’s fine. don’t judge.

  2. Tortilla: the best late-night drunk snack ever, if you make it beforehand and have it waiting in the fridge. I like onion in mine.

    Whenever I try to do the plate thing, I end up with egg and potato all over my stove/clothes/floor, so I usually start with a smaller pan that nests inside a bigger one, and flip into the larger frying pan. That way nothing can escape.

    • For those whose castellano is even worse than mine:

      Origin of the term tortillera: In the novel “Maitreya”, by the Cuban Severo Sarduy, one of the characters carries in her hand a fu-yong omelette (supposedly a Chinese dish), which is a false omelet as it has no eggs (a reference to the male genitalia)….The term “tortillera” is used in many Spanish-speaking countries, mainly in Cuba and Spain.

      More or less anyway.

    • That’s funny that tortillera is slang for dyke in Spain. In Argentina, it’s “torta,” which can refer to many different things but usually (in the non offensive use of it) means cake. I wonder if it comes from the same roots.

      • It probably does! Same with ‘bollera’ or ‘pastelera’, which are also weirdly related to cake-making.

  3. When I lived in Spain, multiple people told me that tortilla española was incredibely difficult to make, that I would almost definitely fuck it up, that I shouldn’t expect to make it right, etc., etc.; so when I came back from Spain it took me YEARS to even try to make it. And once I did, I realized it is not hard at all.
    What the fuck, Spaniards? All those years, I could have been making delicious tortilla española!

    • hahaha! well, so many people make crappy tortillas, maybe that’s what they were referring to when they told you that. It’s a fine art, y’know?

    • You totally could have! When I lived in Madrid, I nailed the first one, screwed up the second one, and have gotten them mostly right after that. I still hold my breath every time I have to flip it, though (I use the regular old plate method). There are special plates with handles on the bottom to make the process easier and less prone to disaster, but where’s the fun in that?

  4. This recipe makes me want to go to Spain and live with my extended family there to soak up all things Spanish. But my Spanish classes never covered “Coming out en español,” so this little Spaniard will settle for this recipe and my family sangria recipe to satisfy my cultural longing.

  5. So, there is the flat corn or flour tortilla from Mexico, and then this. It looks fricking delicious.
    I approve of this post, and will be making this at some point.

  6. I made this today, but realized while it was cooking that the only plate I own is smaller than my skillet. Which is a big cast-iron one and not fun to turn upside down, anyway.

    So I just stirred it instead, and hey! it’s the same stuff my dad used to make when I was a kid, a substance we never had a name for but which I’ve since learned some people call hash. Dad would’ve thrown the ham into the mix instead of on the side, but otherwise, same stuff.

    So, a tortilla is a pan of hash that got its shit together.

  7. the cutest part is your description of the pablos / instant knowledge that everyone would be like “WHY ARE THOSE 2 BOYS THE LEAD IMAGE WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO DO HERE HOT LAURA GOSH!”

    now…who will make this for me?

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