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Tortilla Espanola en Bocadillo

Myra Valdez from United States

30 minutes
Cooks in
60 minutes
Country of origin

Its 1992 and as a 17 year old foreign exchange student from New Mexico, I had the good fortune of being hosted by a loving and generous Spanish family along the Costa del Sol in the region of Valencia. There, I was immersed in the local culture and perfecting my Spanish among several delightful young ladies as we were all coming of age. We shared cross-cultural experiences as we spent our long, warm Summer days soaking up the sun, frolicking in the salt water waves, running local errands for my host mother or sometimes longer, farther day trips to larger, nearby cities. All the while, my host mother often prepared and sent me off with a fresh Tortilla Espanola en Bocadillo in my backpack. She was very generous with her time for me. I ‘knew’ that she wrapped this meal with own protective host motherly love. This bocadillo was a welcomed meal especially on days when I was homesick. It resembled a meal my own mother made for breakfast – scrambled eggs with lots of onion. Simple? Absolutely. However, the stories that were shared with me and associated with my grandmother and my own mother’s and youth growing up and working on an onion farm in Colorado. My current home. This basic recipe has evolved and for me, especially following my Spain experiences and positive associations, it has taken on a new dimension. As a parent myself, I prepare these for my family for our family road trips. Symbolically, the Tortilla Espanola en Bocadillo represents an intergenerational and cross-cultural connection that embodies simplicity, budding freedom in traveling with lots of exciting adventures.


  • Spanish Olive Oil
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and sliced to 1/4” thick
  • 1 thinly sliced yellow onions
  • 5-7 organic, free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 small red bell pepper, roasted, peeled de-seeded, and cut into strips
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Spanish paprika/pimenton to taste and garnish
  • 2 ounces chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
  • 5-7 steamed asparagus stalks with bottoms removed (optional)
  • 4 ounces Serrano ham (optional)
  • Bolillos, or torpedo-shaped bread to stuff with tortilla espanola to make ‘Bocadillo’


  • First, for best results, use a skillet sufficient to make a one-person omelette. Heat enough oil over medium-low temperature to submerge potatoes completely. Place the potatoes in a single layer and gently fry until soft, careful not to brown them. Prepare a strainer with a plate or bowl to capture oil drippings. Transfer the potatoes onto the strainer to drain excess olive oil into the plate or bowl. Reserve the oil. Continue as necessary to cook all of the potatoes. Allow to cool.
  • Then, add the thinly sliced onions to the olive oil. Reuse any of the excess olive oil captured from the bottom of the strainer. Gently cook the onions until they are just slightly tender, not brown or crispy. Transfer the onions to the strainer to drain excess olive oil. Allow to cool.
  • Next, lightly beat the eggs and add salt, pepper, and pimenton to taste. Gently place the potatoes, onions, asparagus, red peppers, and ham into the egg mixture. The egg to potato ratio should be about equal.
  • With about 1 Tablespoon in the skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-low temperature and carefully tilt the egg and potato mixture into the warm skillet. Submerge the potatoes. Using a spatula, while tilting the skillet, as the egg begins to set, pull the egg mixture away from the outer edge of the skillet towards the center, replacing/backfilling the empty skillet space with uncooked egg mixture. Cook slowly over low heat ensuring not to overcook the egg. It should be juicy, but not undercooked.
  • Using a clean, lightweight plate, with a diameter slightly larger than the skillet, place it face down over the skillet like a lid. Invert the plate and skillet in one swift motion. The tortilla now resides on the plate. Add more oil to the skillet, if necessary, and slide the tortilla back into the warm oil in the skillet. Continue to cook slowly over low heat while pulling the set edges inward with the spatula, until it is all set. Slide the tortilla onto a plate prepared with paper towels to capture excess oil. Pat the top of the tortilla gently to capture the oil on that side. Allow the tortilla to cool to room temperature. Sprinkle additional pimenton and chopped parsley as garnished. Slice into wedges and serve for dinner or breakfast.
  • Another serving alternative is the Bocadillo. Once the tortilla espanola has cooled completely, simply slice the bolillo bread along the long length of the bread to make a ‘boca’ or mouth. Generously fill the bolillo with some of the tortilla espanola. Wrap the bocadillo securely in tin foil. Makes an excellent hand held meal for when you are on the go!


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