The Spanish Tortilla (we call it an omelet) is traditionally made with only a few ingredients: eggs, potatoes, onions, olive oil, and parsley. It is not only served for breakfast but also for lunch, dinner, and it is also served as part of a Tapas spread.
If you’ve read my blog over time, you will have noticed that I generally avoid potatoes, as they have a high glycemic (sugar) load. Yet potatoes are the traditional ingredient in this Spanish dish, and they do provide a good source of fiber and nutrients.
A way to lower the glycemic load is to select small, fingerling 1- to 2-inch potatoes, use a smaller portion of potatoes, and boil and refrigerate the cooked potatoes in advance. It takes a bit of planning, and a couple extra steps, but if you have the patience, it’s worth it. Baby potatoes with the skin that are boiled and chilled have a much lower glycemic load than regular peeled potatoes that are baked or sautéed, and they still taste great. Simply boil the sliced potatoes in advance until al dente (about 7-9 minutes), drain, refrigerate for 4-24 hours until chilled, and then heat with the oil and onions as noted below, but you’ll only need to sauté them for 5 minutes as they are already pre-cooked.
Prep and Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (divided)
1 ¼ cups (1/3 pound) baby potatoes (1×2 inches in size), sliced with the skin into 1/4-inch thick slices
1 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
½ medium red bell pepper, diced
5 large organic, cage-free eggs
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
For the quick traditional method, heat a medium sauté pan or skillet to medium-low heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, then sliced potatoes, onion, bell pepper, and simmer covered, turning potatoes and onions every 5 minutes or so until potatoes are soft and tender, about 15 minutes. (Or see my instructions noted in the intro above.)
Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk eggs with salt, pepper, and parsley.
When potatoes are ready, remove pan from heat, and spoon potatoes, onions, and bell pepper into the bowl with eggs and mix. With a paper towel, wipe the bottom of the sauté pan to remove any sticky material.
Heat the same medium sauté pan to medium heat, add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, then pour egg and potato mixture into the pan. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 4-5 minutes. When nearly set and the underside is lightly golden, invert the omelet on a plate, and slide it back into the sauté pan and cook a few more minutes. When the underside is golden, slide back onto a plate and serve.
Steven Masley, MD
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What about sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes?
You could try it and it is a decent idea as they have more nutrients and less glycemic load, but it isn’t traditional and the texture would be different.