Tortilla Española with a twist

So, there you are, having a wonderful aged steak with a giant bowl of piping hot steak fries, perfectly seasoned…and wishing  you had three or four more stomachs in order to fit it all down. That’s typically my problem. Every now and then when we we have the occasion to visit The Famous, I make sure we order a side of steak fries. The only problem is, we eat about 10 and then we’re stuffed. And there’s no way they are getting left behind, so we tow our big box of fries home, to grow fuzz in our fridg because we all know that fries are never good after they’ve grown cold.

But one day, those fries got a second chance. It was the day I was out of potatoes. And I was going to make a Spanish style tortilla for dinner, with leeks and potatoes. And because there was nothing else to eat other than eggs and leeks, it had to be a tortilla for dinner! As they say: “necessity is the mother of invention,” and I pulled out the styrofoam container of fries and decided then and there that they would have a delicious fate in my tortilla. As I suspected, I was discovering a delicious new recipe for a tortilla to remember, and now left-over fries have a whole new meaning.

Tortilla Española

by Stephanie Kunstle



  • 8 eggs
  • 2 large leeks (white and light green parts), cleaned and chopped
  • leftover french fries, about 2 cups, roughly chopped
  • about 1/3 c fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • salt (barely any!) and pepper to taste
  • regular olive oil


  1. In a cast iron skillet, or a heavy steel skillet (not a fan of non-stick as it seems to show up on cheap cookware, and the heat does not conduct well), add about 3 or 4 Tbsp. olive oil, over medium flame. Be sure to swirl the oil in the pan so it coats the sides.
  2. Meanwhile, wisk together eggs with Italian parsley, a touch of salt (fries, by definition, are salty, so you do not want to oversalt your eggs and ruin the dish!), and pepper. These are not scrambled eggs, so they don’t need to be perfectly combined, but wisked well.
  3. Add the leeks to the hot oil in skillet, and sautee for about 5 minutes until they become tender. Be sure to keep them moving so they don’t crisp or burn.
  4. Add the chopped fries, and combine, then turn the heat up to medium-high flame. Make sure you have enough oil in the pan to keep the eggs from sticking- it should be a visible barrier!
  5. Add the egg mixture. A crust on the sides with start to form almost instantly, bubbling up at the sides of the pan. With a fork, slowly swirl the potatoes and leeks around to make sure they are somewhat evenly distributed. BE CAREFUL not to let the fork touch the bottom of the pan- you want to move the eggs, to form curds, but not break the crust that has already formed. If you do, the tortilla will stick. Very sad.
  6. After a minute or two, turn the heat down to medium, and vigilently watch the edges to make sure the tortilla is not becoming too brown. Adjust heat accordingly- the goal is to cook the eggs inside without burning the crust. Use the fork to keep the eggs moving slowly within its crust until they seem to be nearly set.
  7. Place a large plate or even a baking sheet over the skillet, and well equiped with hot-pads, apron, and a steady hand, remove the skillet from the heat, and flip it over onto the plate. Voilà! The worst is behind you!
  8. Check the oil in the empty skillet, if its gone- add another tablespoon or two and swirl. Put it back on the heat.
  9. Ever so gently, slide the tortilla (raw side down) into the skillet. The sides will bubble again, and the tortilla will begin to puff up.
  10. After a couple of minutes, slide fork under the tortilla to check for doneness- and then again- carefully flip the tortilla onto a serving plate. The most recently cooked side will be the prettiest as it spent the least amount of time over heat.
  11. Scatter with some chopped parsley, and serve warm or room temperature, with a fresh green salad.
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5 Responses to Tortilla Española with a twist

  1. Rita says:

    Wow!I want to eat leftover potatoes at your house!
    You transformed them and at the same time reminded me of Spain!

  2. Charlotte says:

    Oy – that sounds amazing! I feel proud when I manage to make pancakes (the thin European ones…for dinner) from scratch once in a while. So great to read your blog and get inspired! Wish we could visit sometime, have a nice bottle of wine and check to make sure your food is as good as it sounds and looks…. Many hugs from the other side of the big water ;-)

  3. Em says:


  4. Stephanie Kunstle says:

    Charlie! Oh please… I am still salivating over a particular mohnkuchen you made me, complete with a nice cup of tea. Missing you over here!!! XOXO.

  5. Stephanie Kunstle says:

    Rita: It must be in my roots.

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