The Hearty Frittata Alternative You Should Be Serving At Your Next Brunch

Spain is a land of modern molecular gastronomy. It was home to Ferran Adrià's iconic restaurant El Bulli and has a rich, complex food culture. The small plates craze you often see in upscale American restaurants? That was inspired by Spanish tapas. But before you start thinking that all Spanish dishes are fancy, petite, and lacking the coziness of home-cooked meals, think again. One of Spain's most beloved signature foods is a hearty dish that chef José Andrés says is "the most important dish in Spanish cooking" (via "The Tonight Show"). And no, he's not talking about paella. He's talking about tortilla española, the Spanish tortilla.

If you find yourself getting hungry minutes after finishing a meager frittata slice at brunch, tortilla española could be the breakfast for you. Though it has the word tortilla in its name, this dish has nothing to do with the corn or flour tortillas fans of Mexican food might think about. In Spain, a tortilla is actually an omelet. Like a frittata or an American omelet, a Spanish tortilla can be filled with all sorts of ingredients. Yet sometimes the simplest preparations are the tastiest. That's the case with tortilla española, which is traditionally a combination of eggs, hearty fried potatoes, and sometimes onions. But there's more than one way to make it.

Make a traditional tortilla española or customize

Lots of recipes can be customized in unique, interesting ways by utilizing different ingredients, equipment, or even cooking styles. Like many other delicious breakfast foods, tortilla española is both versatile and perfect for eating at other meals depending on what ingredients you include. Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner? That said, it is a great dish to start your day. Chef David Shim of Cote in New York City says he likes making tortilla española for breakfast because it's "a little bit heavier than a frittata," thanks to the inclusion of potatoes (via Insider). But his favorite version of this Spanish classic is a bit nontraditional — he adds sweet potatoes and bell peppers to his recipe.

José Andrés, on the other hand, prefers a more traditional Spanish tortilla. He uses copious amounts of Spanish olive oil to fry white potatoes, which gives the tortilla a rich flavor and luscious texture. But you can add your own favorite ingredients to a Spanish tortilla, too, even if it's not traditional. Add onions, seasonal vegetables, your favorite breakfast meat, or cheese to amp up the flavor. Some recipes even call for potato chips instead of sliced or diced fresh potatoes. Serve your version of tortilla española piping hot, warm, or even cold with a side of aioli for dipping. Your brunch guests will be happy you decided to trade out the basic frittata in favor of this delicious Spanish dish.