When I visited Spain two years ago, I stumbled upon a tapas restaurant and tried my very first Spanish tortilla. I'll cut to the chase and tell you, it was just okay. Then the following day, I went on a food tour and tried a Spanish tortilla at a place that specialized in the dish. What a difference! It was the same simple recipe of just potatoes and eggs but it tasted completely different. The outside was a little crispy while the inside was almost creamy. It was at that moment that I decided I had to try making it myself. I took the same basic recipe and added a few extra ingredients to make a Spanish tortilla with Calabrian chile butter and caramelized leeks, sauteed oyster mushrooms, and a lemony arugula salad. Let me just say, wow.
Spanish Tortilla with Calabrian Chile Butter
Calabrian chile butter
- ¼ cup butter softened
- 4 Calabrian chilies finely chopped
- ½ cup vegetable oil plus 2 tbsp divided
- 2 leeks tops removed, thinly sliced
- 1 ½ lb potatoes peeled, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 6 eggs beaten
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 8 ounces oyster mushrooms
- 2 cups arugula
- juice of ½ lemon
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup manchego cheese grated
- 2 tablespoon fresh dill
- 2 tablespoon fresh parsley
- salt and pepper
- Make the Calabrian chile butter. Beat together the softened butter with chopped chilies until well combined. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tablespoon oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks, season with salt and pepper, and saute until softened and browned, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer the leeks to a large bowl.
- In the same pan, heat ½ cup oil. Add the sliced potatoes and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until the potatoes are tender, carefully turning them over throughout the cooking process. If the potatoes break easily, they are overcooked. Remove from heat and drain the excess oil, reserving the oil.
- Transfer the potatoes to the bowl with the leeks. Add the eggs and season with salt and pepper. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Heat 1 tablespoon reserved oil and 2 tablespoon Calabrian chile butter in the same skillet over medium heat. Pour the potato egg mixture into the pan and cook until the edges have set, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- Insert a rubber spatula into the pan and run it around the edges to loosen the tortilla. Turn off the heat and place a plate on top of the pan. Carefully invert the pan so that the tortilla is on the plate.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoon Calabrian chile butter in the pan. Gently, slide the tortilla back into the pan so that the bottom is now facing up. Continue to cook the Spanish tortilla for 4-5 minutes or until almost set. The tortilla should still be slightly runny in the center.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoon oil in another skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the oyster mushrooms until browned and caramelized. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
- Toss the arugula with juice of ½ lemon, olive oil, manchego, dill, parsley, salt, and pepper. Top the warm Spanish tortilla with the sauteed mushrooms and arugula salad. Serve immediately.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
It's incredible to think that the basic Spanish tortilla is just eggs and potatoes. And yet, if made right, it can be so delicious. I wanted to make my tortilla substantial enough to stand as a meal so I added in a few extra ingredients.
I know Spanish food doesn't usually have any spice but I wanted a little kick in this dish, hence the Calabrian chile butter. You can adjust the number of chilies to your preference. Just as a guideline, 3 chilies for ¼ cup butter will yield a mild tortilla.
To counter the spicy element, I wanted to add something sweet. That's where the caramelized leeks come in. Saute the leeks until softened and browned in a saute pan over medium heat and remove from heat.
Thinly slice the potatoes either by hand or with a mandoline, then, in the same pan, heat ½ cup oil. I know it seems like a lot of oil but you're cooking a good amount of potatoes. You need all that oil to coat the potatoes and cook them all together evenly.
Ideally, the potatoes shouldn't brown, but I don't mind a few browned edges. Flip the potatoes over as they cook, then remove them from the pan and drain the excess oil on paper towels. The potatoes should be tender but not mushy. They're going to keep cooking with the eggs so you don't want the potatoes to just fall apart.
Whisk the eggs then pour them over the potatoes and leeks. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes, allowing the ingredients to really meld together.
Now melt 2 tablespoon of the Calabrian chile butter along with 1 tablespoon oil in the pan and add the potato egg mixture. Once the edges are set, reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes.
Next comes the tricky part, flipping the tortilla over. Loosen the edges by running a spatula around the tortilla. If you want to be extra safe, you can slide the tortilla onto a plate, then flip it over onto another plate and back into the pan. This way, you'll avoid having any oil or butter splatter on you. Then, melt the remaining Calabrian chile butter in the pan and slide the tortilla back. Continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes.
If you rather avoid flipping over the tortilla, you can finish it in the oven instead. Continue cooking the tortilla in the oven at 400 degrees F for about 5 minutes or until the tortilla has set.
Spanish tortillas are supposed to be enjoyed at room temperature or warm, not hot. So, while the tortilla cools slightly, saute the mushrooms. I chose oyster mushrooms because I love the crispy edges but you can swap them out for cremini, button, or even maitake.
Toss some fresh arugula with olive oil, herbs, parmesan, salt, pepper, and lemon juice, and top the tortilla with the mushrooms and salad.
As much as I enjoy a basic Spanish tortilla, I love this Spanish tortilla with Calabrian chile butter. Every once in a while, you get a little bit of chili, waking up your taste buds. The fresh arugula salad brightens up the hearty eggs and potatoes while the crispy mushrooms add more texture and umami. I think Spain would be proud!
For more breakfast inspiration check out this eggs in purgatory with potatoes recipe!