Spanish Tortilla or Italian Frittata?

Within the context of the Mediterranean sea the cooking techniques and traditions are somehow similar, thus making it difficult sometimes to allocate a recipe to a specific Country rather than to another. For example, on the European side of the Mediterranean sea, the Spanish, the southern French, the Italian and the Greek traditions make large use of olive oil rather than butter, eggplants are pretty common if you just think of the Greek Moussaka or the Italian Parmigiana which are pretty similar recipes or at least similar concepts. Another example is the analogy between the Spanish Paella and the Italian Risotto, although some major differences are in place including the rice variety that is completely different…

Another interesting analogy between the Italian and the Spanish cooking tradition is a recipe that is pretty much the same in both Countries: the Spanish Tortilla or the Italian Frittata. In both cases is a mix of eggs and vegetables. Tortilla is standardised with onions and potatoes while the Italian Frittata welcomes any vegetable you like, although it is mostly made with onions or spinach or other greens. The second big difference is that Frittata is commonly fried, while Tortilla can be also baked.

Baked Frittata – Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

I decided to mix the 2 traditions by making my own Italian Frittata and to bake it as if it was a Tortilla instead of frying it.


  • 3 large onions
  • 2 large potatoes
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tbps olive oil
  • Salt
  • Nutmeg

The procedure is pretty simple:

Peel the onions and cut them into thin slices. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pan, add the onions and lightly fry them (if you cover the pan with a lid you will use less oil and the cooking will be quicker). Once ready, let them cool.

Peel the potatoes, chop them into small pieces (sort of cubes with a side of 2 cm) and put them in a pot with boiling water for approx. 5 minutes (they shall not be fully softened as cooking will continue in the oven). Once ready, let them cool and drain in a colander.

Slice of Baked Frittata – Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

Break the eggs in a bowl and mix them with a fork, add some salt and some nutmeg, then add both the onions and the potatoes and harmonize the whole with a spoon.

Take a small tray, cover it with baking paper (if you are out of it you can simply grease the tray with a bit of olive oil) and pour the content of the bowl into it.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes at 180 °C. You can check the status of the baking process by making a little hole in the middle with the tip of a knife: if it gets out dry the frittata is ready, if it still gets out with fresh egg on it, let bake a bit more.

Baked Frittata – Photo by Matteo Gazzarata

Note: The difference between Frittata and Tortilla is its appearance: Frittata is usually large, round and thin while tortilla is a lot thicker but smaller. Choose your baking tray according to the appearance you want to get.

My Frittata serves 6. You can make it bigger or smaller as you like by reducing or increasing the volume of each ingredient. I do usually serve it with some stewed Zucchini.

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: slice
Servings: 6
Total Fat 7.2g9%
Saturated Fat 1.5g7%
Cholesterol 82mg27%
Sodium 68mg3%
Total Carbohydrate 26.7g10%
Dietary Fiber 4.6g17%
Total Sugars 4.9g 
Protein 5.7g 
Vitamin D 8mcg39%
Calcium 41mg3%
Iron 1mg7%
Potassium 641mg14%
Nutrition facts calculated by on-line service. If you have dietary requirements or food restrictions, speak to your doctor in advance.

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