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Origin of the spanish omelet

Gastronomy tips

Spanish omelet or potato omelet is one of the most popular snacks ordered and consumed in bars and restaurants in Spain.

Who hasn't tried Spanish omelet? We can say that it is one of the most symbolic dishes of our cuisine.

The world is divided into two groups: those who love their Spanish omelet with onion and those who cannot stand it.

For breakfast, as a mid-morning snack, for lunch, tea or dinner, any time of day becomes a good excuse to enjoy it. It is a must at any party or gathering with family and friends, on trips, at the beach, in the mountains... Its simple recipe, containing eggs, potatoes, onions, salt and olive oil, creates a delicious combination, a real delicacy for the palate that is affordable on all budgets.


Its origin is not very clear. On the one hand, according to The Chronicles of the Indies, we know that the first egg omelets were made around the year 1519, both by the Spaniards and by the Aztecs. And on the other hand, we know that Pizarro brought potatoes back from America to Europe in the year 1537 as food for animals, because at that time food that came from the ground was considered poisonous for human consumption, they had to wait up to 200 years for them to be considered suitable for our consumption. The Spaniards mistook the potatoes for sweet potatoes due to their similar appearance and that is why they started to call them potatoes, and the name is still used nowadays.

There are several theories regarding the exact moment when these two ingredients were combined, creating the recipe for the Spanish omelet.

Until recently, the first document we know of in which they referred to the Spanish omelet, was a document dating back to 1817, addressed to the Court of Navarre, which recounts that the inhabitants of Pamplona consumed it, and the document stated: “... two or three eggs in an omelet for five or six, because our women know how to make it big and fat using few eggs by mixing with potatoes, breadcrumbs or something else...”. Legend has it that the inventor of the Spanish omelet was a humble peasant who lived in the forests of Navarre, and one winter night he received the visit of the Carlist general Tomás de Zumalacárregui (1808-1835), who asked him for something to eat. As he only had eggs, onions and potatoes, he made an omelet with these ingredients and the general loved it and would later make it popular among his Carlist troops, since it was a simple, cheap and very nutritious dish. Most traditional dishes were created out of necessity rather than a desire to innovate.

However, a recent study by Javier López Linaje, from the Centre for Human and Social Sciences of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), in his book "La patata en España. Historia y Agroecología del Tubérculo Andino” (The Potato in Spain. History and Agroecology of the Andean Tuber), uses specific data to place the origin of the Spanish omelet in the town of Villanueva de la Serena (Badajoz), referring to the Spanish omelet in 1798, some twenty years before the document of The Court of Navarre and it attributes its invention to Joseph de Tena Godoy and the Marquis of Robledo who sought a cheap and nutritious food to combat the hunger of that time.

Now it's time to enjoy the delicious Spanish omelet. If you don't have time to make your own, don't forget to try our delicious Palacios fresh potato omelets. You'll be surprised!


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