Le cul entre les deux chaises

An American Spaniard in France or: How I Learned to Make an Ass of Myself in Three Cultures

Bachelor Food: tortilla for one


A Spanish tortilla is simple to make but not easy to get right. It’s also a lot of food for one person, but one cold December day, I cracked the case. My solution was to make individual tortillas in muffin tins.

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This recipe is very easy and more fool-proof than a traditional tortilla.


potato (I buy a bachelor-sized variety called pompadour)
olive oil
butter (optional)
muffin tins


  1. Peel and thinly slice potato.
  2. Fry in batches. (Don’t crowd the chips or they’ll get soggy and won’t crisp.)
  3. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Salt.
  4. Layer the cooked chips into a muffin tin, forming a base, then prop chips along the side to create a tower / cone around the center. Continue to fill in with chips until the tin is almost full. (The tin can be buttered to ease the removal of the finished tortilla, but isn’t necessary.)
  5. Beat one egg in a small bowl, season, carefully pour over the potatoes. One egg should be the right amount for a standard muffin tin.
  6. Place tins in a pre-heated toaster oven and cook until egg is done to your liking. (If the top is still raw, blast the broiler for a minute, keeping an eye on the tortilla the whole time. Broilers are serious heating elements.)
  7. Let cool for a few minutes and unmold.
  8. Dig in.

They dun got me

Even though I’m no longer in the news biz, I still get annoyed when I get scooped. One would think that a recipe wouldn’t be scoopable, but the week after I had my bachelor tortilla brain wave, Melissa Clark, the New York Times’s way-too-perky food writer did a whole thing about tortilla. I was at least pleased that they made a very basic and telling mistake right in the first line: in Spanish, nationalities aren’t ever capitalized so if you’re going to go through the trouble of making an ñ, you should at least make sure your other punctuation is correct.

Melissa Clark tortilla FAILThe less said about the sentiment of her lede the better. I’m hoping it was some kind of attempt at being cutesy and not a display of out right ignorance since a professional food writer should know that often the simplest foods are the best ones.

Author: le cul en rows

I'm an American Spaniard, living in France. I like to tell stories.

7 thoughts on “Bachelor Food: tortilla for one

  1. Love these! How many do you typically make for yourself?

    That lede is the worst–could it be any more trite? The comment section is predictably hilarious–especially when she advocated putting it in the oven instead of flipping. My tortillas are far from perfect (and I love using really good potato chips to make mine), but I have my plate ready and I flip the damn thing.

    • I find that two paired with a salad are perfect. They’re also good for a cold/picnic lunch.

      And those comments are amazing! I hadn’t read them (so annoyed was I by the crappy lede). True story: more than one Catalan told me that “everyone knew” that Italians sold Catalan olive oil under Italian labels. Following this logic, it’s perfectly Spanish to use Italian olive oil.

      And as a proper Spaniard, I actually have a special tortilla plate (used for flipping and serving) but it’s too much of a hassle to make a big one just for me. I’d be eating tortilla all week!

  2. Amazing. Making these!I love a good mini food.

  3. Pingback: Tapas/tapes: baked eggs and chorizo, as inspired by La Tasqueta de Caldes. | The Manhattan [food] Project

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