Potato, Feta and Basil Tortilla | David Lebovitz

You can find tortillas, or Spanish omelets, served in slices at room temperature in the streets of Paris. In New York city, small plates of tapas have become increasingly popular amidst the restaurant scene. After some google searches, I’ve also found out that Spanish omelets are among the most popular dishes offered in bars, as well as in homes, in the Basque country. All that piques my curiosity about this David Lebovitz’s recipe of potato, feta and basil tortilla.

Tortillas like this one are popular for good reasons. Since they use the everyday staples of potatoes and eggs, they can be whipped up in short order. The whole omelet can be cut up and served as a light entrée with a green salad. Or they can be used as small plates of appetizer. Either way, they look inviting. Just the perfect morsels of nourishment, ideal for parties and picnics too. I’m keen to make the dish.

I made the potato, feta and basil tortilla twice and would likely continue to do so until I get it right. So far, I haven’t. First, I made a plain version with green and purple basil, fresh from my backyard garden. In addition, a good amount of the sweet and spicy smoked paprika. Then I made a version using chorizo, following David’s suggestion. There are other ingredients I think would do well in the tortilla: onions, veggies or smoked fish. Nonetheless, the idea of a potato omelet is appealing. It is like a blank canvas that invites creative engagement.

I don’t know whether I’d characterize this dish as easy to do. First of all, I followed the recipe closely in my first attempt. “Cook the 3/4-inch potato cubes in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are tender and cook through, 12 to 15 minutes.” It didn’t take long to realize that the tortilla was overcooked and on the side of dry and spongy. Furthermore, inverting the finished tortilla in a piping hot and heavy cast-iron skillet is dicey. Can’t stop thinking about: Is it really necessary to flip the tortilla? Why not leave it as it is in the pan?

The second attempt with the chorizo looked promising, so I thought. However, I found patches of darkened and burnt pieces on the bottom. They were serviceable, but not without flaws. It seems like cooking eggs can be tricky. Well, duh! In conclusion, I need more practice to make these Spanish omelets the iconic dishes that they are.


Potato, feta and basil tortilla

Tortilla with chorizo

Potato, feta ans basil tortilla

Tortilla with green and purple basil

Potato, feta and basik tortilla

Key ingredients: potatoes, scallions, paprika, fresh basil, eggs, and feta


I’m linking this post to Cook-the-book-Fridays where other enthusiastic home cooks are cooking through David Lebovitz’s My Paris Kitchen, one recipe at a time. Join in for the fun and happy cooking!

Potato, Feta and Basil Tortilla

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 to 8


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound (450g) potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch (2cm) cubes
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt
  • 6 scallions, white and tender green parts, thinly sliced
  • 9 large eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon piment d'Espelette or sweet or smoked paprika
  • 2 cups (40g) loosely packed fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (120g) very coarsely crumbled feta cheese
  • [OPTIONAL] 1 cup cubed Spanish chorizo or another cooked spiced sausage



Heat the oil in a 10-inch cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat.


Add the potato cubes and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are tender and cooked through, 12-15 minutes.


A few minutes before the potatoes are done, add the scallions and cook until they're wilted.


Preheat the oven to 450°F. If you're using a nonstick skillet, the highest temperature recommended is usually around 375 degrees Fahrenheit.


Mix the eggs in a bowl with 1/4 teaspoon salt and sweet paprika. Stir the basil into the eggs and pour the mixture over the potatoes in the skillet.


Crumble the feta over the potatoes and press the pieces down gently with a spoon. Cook the tortilla until the bottom is golden brown and well set, rotating the pan from time to time as it cooks for 15-20 minutes. Don't check it too soon, or you may break the crust.


When the crust is browned, slide the skillet into the oven and let it cook until the eggs are set, about 5 minutes.


Remove the skillet from the oven. Set a baking sheet or serving plate on top of the skillet then flip both the baking sheet and the skillet simultaneously, releasing the tortilla from the skillet.


Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. You can store the tortilla in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.


Adapted from My Paris Kitchen by David Lebovitz

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  • Reply
    September 15, 2017 at 9:16 am

    We once were in the Basque Country having dinner with a friend and the Tortillia was being served before the meal. The friend whispered in my ear “Don’t even think of making this if you didn’t learn it at your mother’s knee.”
    I’ve tried countless times and never felt like I even came close. Attempts always taste good.
    Your tortillas look glorious.

    • Reply
      September 15, 2017 at 7:10 pm

      I can almost overhear your friend’s comment. It’d take a life-time of experience to master certain dishes. Certain things are worthy of that kind of dedication. I’ll put in my time. Thank you for your insightful comment.

  • Reply
    Chez Nana
    September 15, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    Both of your versions look fantastic. I over did my browning, but whatever, it tasted great. When I read your version of flipping this, I thought, how the heck can you flip a hot frying pan…… I slipped mine on to a dinner plate and went from there. It worked perfectly. It was a delicious recipe and went perfectly with a green salad.

  • Reply
    September 16, 2017 at 12:29 am

    Oh I do love your green and purple basil version, and I must it with Chinese lap cheong for a non veggie version. Perhaps, we should not let the eggs set too much before putting the pan in the oven, to get more tender eggs?

    • Reply
      September 16, 2017 at 9:26 am

      I agree that once the crust starts to brown, it’s time to finish cooking in the oven.

  • Reply
    September 16, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    I just let the tortilla get a light brown crust around the edge before I put it in the oven. It looked very much like yours, Shirley. Since I didn’t know any better, I thought I’d done a pretty good job of making it. Although I spent several days in the Basque area, I never had a tortilla but will order one the first opportunity I have. I am curious about trying the chorizo version. Looks delicious.

    • Reply
      September 16, 2017 at 11:31 pm

      You did a great job on the tortilla, Mary. Period. Nothing is changing that!

  • Reply
    September 17, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    I think both your tortillas look perfect, despite your descriptions of their shortcomings… I bought chorizo but wasn’t organized enough to cook it in the moment. I enjoyed this enough that I will try again soon with the sausage. I agree with you about the flipping of the hot tortilla onto a plate. My husband watched me in horror waiting for me to drop something or burn myself. I told him it was my “Julia Child” moment. Next time, I’ll just slice it in the pan!

  • Reply
    Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.)
    September 19, 2017 at 5:23 am

    Yours look great! I’ve eaten many a tortilla in Spain but have never seen them served as street food in all the time I lived in Paris. I was curious as to the inclusion of this recipe in the book (I know, the story about the pan and the cookbooks but still). The chorizo was definitely a great addition to this!

    • Reply
      September 19, 2017 at 9:25 am

      Good to have you validate the state of the food scene in Paris. I also wonder why the recipe in the book?

  • Reply
    Katie from ProfWhoCooks
    September 19, 2017 at 8:25 am

    I love the photo of the basil, onions, and potato–great colors! I want to try this with chorizo, for sure, and I agree with you that it does seem fussy. I had a lot of browning on my version as well and I could tell it was a bit overcooked. Spongy is exactly the word for it! I may have to follow your lead and also continue, taking notes, until I get it right.

    • Reply
      September 19, 2017 at 9:28 am

      I like the dish. I’d like it better when I get the texture of the potato and egg right.

    We're open to your comments and suggestions!