In Spain, tapas or small plates can be anything from potatoes with olive oil, garlic sautéed shrimp or “gambas,” octopus, cheese, olives, almonds, or cured ham and crusty bread. Tapas are usually served as appetizers in bars and cafes across Spain. Spanish tortilla, a popular tapa made with eggs, potatoes, and onions, is usually served at room temperature with an aperitif.
Several tapas can be put together for a light, savory meal. Served with red wine, Spanish “rioja,” chilled vermouth, or an ice-cold fruity red or white sangria, tapas make a perfect early evening snack or happy hour appetizer for you and your guests.
The first time I made a Spanish tortilla, I reduced the recommended amount of olive oil. It wasn’t until I finally used the full one cup of olive oil to cook the potatoes and onions that I was finally able to achieve the right texture and depth of flavor that was essential to making an authentic Spanish tortilla. So trust me, and do not skimp on the olive oil.
Most tapas can be prepared in a matter of minutes. There are only a few ingredients and many tapas do not even need to be cooked. The Spanish tortilla has three ingredients; potatoes, onions, and salt that are cooked slowly and lovingly in olive oil. I happened to find some fresh chanterelle mushrooms (thanks to @Wildwoodsapiary for these golden treasures) at the farmer’s market the day I made the tortilla, so I added those to the potato and onion sauté.
I cook mine slowly on the stovetop until it is somewhat firm because I do not like runny eggs. If you are good at flipping omelets, you can remove the tortilla from the pan then flip it on the reverse side back into the skillet and cook a little longer.
When the tortilla reaches the desired firmness, it will easily slide from the skillet onto a platter. Serve with a chilled aperitif and it’s happy hour!