Tortillas de Patatas are a ubiquitous dish at tapas bars in Spain so it’s only natural I feature them on the Vegetarian Vuelta a España. Traditionally, this recipe is made with a bunch of eggs and potatoes. This version skips the eggs and instead uses a mixture of soymilk and chickpea flour to create the “glue” to hold the potatoes together.
Different regions in Spain make tortillas de patatas with various consistencies and thicknesses, different ingredients and it’s served with different accompaniments including bread, pickles and even mayonnaise. You could actually create a trip through Spain solely to try the varieties of tortillas de patatas – you’re guaranteed never to go hungry.
There are several legends of where this dish came from. The most likely origin is from the Navarre region in Northern Spain. An anonymous document called the “Mousehole’s Memorial” was written in 1817 and described the food eaten in the region including a dish made with “…two to three eggs in tortilla for 5 or 6 [people] as our women do know how to make it big and thick with less eggs, mixing potatoes, breadcrumbs or whatever.”
Another legend of this recipe involves Tomás de Zumalacárregui, a general in the Carlist Wars. Zumalacárregui came up to a farmhouse and demanded a meal from the farmer’s wife. All she had on hand were some eggs, a potato and an onion. She put these three things together, created the tortilla de patatas. He liked the recipe so much that he stole the idea.
Another tale is that during the war, Zumalacárregui was in the field and happened upon a farmhouse and demanded a meal from the farmwife. All she had were a few eggs, a potato and an onion, so she combined all three, making an omelette. Surprisingly, Zumalacárregui was pleased and took the idea with him.
These tortillas can be eaten hot or cold. Or, lukewarm. You see, after I made the tortilla de patatas, I was packing for a ride along the shore. Knowing I was in the midst of doing a culinary tour of Spain, one of our flock asked if I had anything for him to take with him for a snack as he searched through our refrigerator. Because I knew I’d be drafting off of him for most of the day, I knew he needed to be well fueled so I didn’t begrudge him his request. Also, I knew that because these were made without milk or eggs, I knew I didn’t have to fear any curdling in the heat. Bonus! I threw a slice for him in a little baggie, and off we went. What we soon began calling the “potatoes patatas” held up well when eaten at the first rest stop. I should have packed him some more because he ate what he had in two seconds flat. The only thing missing was some hot sauce.
Vegan Tortilla de Patatas (Vegan Spanish Omelet)
Adapted from creativegan.net
- 7-8 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 tomato, cut into eighths
- 8 tablespoons chickpea flour (gram flour)
- 5 tablespoons soymilk
- 3 tablespoons vinegar
- 1 onion, chopped
- salt and pepper
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- olive oil
In frying pan, heat olive oil at medium heat. Saute onion, zucchini and potatoes until they are soft. Remove from pan into bowl.