Tortilla Española Bocadillo

I might just be the last of my tribe to have seen the movie Julie and Julia. It was worth the wait. The theatre was empty and the film was oh, so good. Having traveled to New York and worked long hours this past week, it was a nice reprieve and a delicious welcome home.

When I got out of the theatre, it was late and I was hungry. {I just couldn't bear the thought of eating my "I can believe its not butter" popcorn in front of Julia while she made beurre blanc and bœuf bourguignon. } I didn't feel like going to the grocery store, so I headed home to see what was in the pantry.

An already-chilled bottle of Edna Valley Chardonnay was just begging for something simple. I don't have a freezer and only a few pantry cabinets, so there wasn't far to look. On the counter was a mound of marble-sized potatoes that I'd hauled home in my suitcase from the Union Square farmer's market. What else could I find? Eggs. Check. Butter. Check. My late-night snack was clearly going to be some sort of potato-egg dish. I know what you are thinking...omelet! Classic Julia, indeed.

Unlike Julia, making omelets has never been my particular expertise--or aspiration. I prefer the more sloppy version called scrambled eggs. But tonight, I felt like I needed to do Julia proud. Scrambled eggs simply would not do. And that's when it came to me. Tortilla Española!

Tortilla Española is a traditional Spanish omelet made with potatoes and onions. When I lived in Spain, my host madre would make this for me once a week. She would nestle a thick slab of omelet between two plain pieces of crusty bread. Then, she would carefully wrap it in foil and send me on my way with my bocadillo. I have never forgotten the perfume of that simple but delectable snack. I was hungry to give it a try after all these years. Not very French, but it certainly was delicious!

I think Julia would have been proud.

1 generous handful of tiny creamer potatoes or 1 large Yukon golds
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 loaf of crusty bread or baguette

Cut the potatoes in 1/4 inch slices and cook in boiling salted water until tender and easily pierced with a knife. Drain and set aside.

In an 8-10 inch sauté pan, heat the butter over medium heat until melted. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent, but not browned. Add the cooked potatoes and cook for a few more minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, salt and pepper until well-beaten. Pour the eggs over the onion and potato mixture and cook just until the egg begins to set. Cover the pan with a lid and turn the heat down to low. Check the eggs in about 3-5 minutes. The edges should be browned nicely, but the egg not yet cooked through. Gently loosen the edges of the omelet away from the pan with a spatula. Carefully invert the omelet onto a plate and slide the uncooked side back into the pan. Cook for another 1-3 minutes until the eggs is cooked. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into pieces and serve on the bread.

Makes two to four bocadillos.

Buon appetito!
copyright 2009 Alisa Barry


Shannon said...

Yum!!! Recipe looks delicious and what's even more delicious is how you wrote about your experience (and your thought process).

Alisa Barry said...

Thanks for the feedback, Shannon. It's nice to know what engages and inspires. I look forward to sharing more personal experiences with you.

Sam Harrison said...

Glad you liked J/J -- so did we. The New Yorker called it one of the most charming American movies in a decade. I agree.And your dish looks delicious -- as always!

Hope to see you soon.


Francesca said...

Just like you, I loved the J & J movie. I loved Julia's enthusiasm then and I still bond with anyone who has a passion for food! As a child, my Sicilian nona (grandmother) made your potato and egg dish for dinner and like any good italian, served it with bread. If we had fresh green peppers, she added them too. Comfort food. I still make it today 50 yrs later.

Anonymous said...


We went to the Serenbe farmer's market this morning to buy potatoes for your recipe. It was fantastic and best of all beautiful and easy!!


Anne Reeves said...

Alisa - congratulations on the Better Homes & Garden article! Just read it over coffee and wanted to tell you right away.

I blogged about Julie/Julia too - loved the passion it showed for food and projects! Best, Anne

Alisa Barry said...

Hi Anne,
Thanks so much for taking the time to write to me. I am delighted to be in Better Homes +Garden. What an honor.

And yes, Julie and Julia continues to leave a wonderful impression on me. For me, the main message is to enjoy the ritual of what cooking and eating can offer us everyday.

please stay in touch!
buon appetito.

Teacake Martini said...

Hello Alisa!

Love your blog and Bella Cucina. As promised, & FYI .... your blog and Bella Cucina have a double feature on Teacake Martini. Come by and check it out. Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Alisa Barry said...

Oh my, What a wonderful spread!!
thanks so very much for the generous mention.
love what you do- thanks for including Bella cucina!

Happy Labor day to you too.
You made my day!!

buon appetito,