Tortilla or Frittata?

Leaving aside the Mexican flat bread which is also called tortilla, both names describe large omelettes that are cooked all the way through and allowed to cool to room temperature before being cut into wedges. The only difference is that one is Spanish and the other Italian, and for some reason frittata is now a more fashionable name.

This version is flavoured with basil, grated Parmesan cheese and spring onions, and differs in execution by being cooked in two stages. The inclusion of Parmesan and basil push it firmly into the frittata camp. Cooking the eggs in two separate stages has the effect of holding the filling in the middle. New potatoes are preferred, but old potatoes – peeled, boiled and diced – are also fine.


  • 450 g/ 1 lb potatoes
  • 8 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 large basil leaves, torn into strips
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 spring onions, thinly sliced


First cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until just tender. Refresh in cold water and, if they have a full skin, peel and reserve. If using large potatoes, dice them into 1-cm / Β½-inch cubes and, if new, cut in half lengthwise.

Beat 3 of the eggs in one bowl and 5 in another. Season both with salt and pepper and add the grated Parmesan and basil to the latter, stirring in.

Put a heavy frying pan over a moderate heat and preheat a hot grill. When the pan is hot, add the olive oil. Pour in the 3-egg mixture and swirl to cover the base of the pan.

When just set, cover with potatoes and spring onions, then pour over the remaining eggs. Lower the heat and cook for 4 minutes, then transfer the pan to under the grill and continue to cook until done. The omelette should be cooked all the way through, but only just.

Slide on to a board and leave to cool. Do not refrigerate and serve at room temperature as a first course.