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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Tortilla Española #MoviesandMunchies

This month I am hosting the Movies & Munchies group and invited them to watch Parallel Mothers. It had come up on a list of movies with great food scenes and I thought it would be an appropriate pick for Mothers' Day (month).

On the Screen

At the root of it, Parallel Mothers is drama by Pedro Almodóvar about motherhood, community, and connection. We meet Janis, played by Penélope Cruz, and Ana, played Milena Smit, who are assigned as roommates in the labor and delivery wing of a hospital. Both are single moms. Almost forty-year-old Janis admits her pregnancy was an accident and she doesn't regret it at all while teenager Ana said that her pregnancy was accidental and she deeply regrets it.

The two women forge a friendship and the story progresses as Janis explains the father of her child is a married man whose wife is battling cancer. Ana reveals that her child could have been fathered by any one of three boys during a traumatic encounter that is tantamount to blackmail and rape.

I won't say too much more. There are many twists and turns in the plot. But I will warn that there are elements of this movie that might trigger you, including sudden infant death, babies swapped at the hospital, and genocide. Yes, really. But like all Almodóvar movies, this one is beautifully filmed and rife with deep, raw emotions.

I enjoyed it. I hope the rest of the Movies & Munchies crew doesn't find it too morose.

On the Plate

There was quite a bit of food in this movie. When Janis and Arturo first share a meal, it's a bottle of Spanish red wine and a platter of jamón. After having just given birth, Teresa offers Janis and Ana croquetas. And when Janis runs into Ana at the cafe near her house, she orders coffee with milk and a blueberry muffin. But the scenes that were the most inspiring were when Ana moves in to help Janis with Cecilia.

Janis shows Ana how to cook, including a traditional Tortilla Española, a Spanish omelette made with eggs, potatoes, and onions. She also makes a baked fish and potato dish.

Known as Tortilla Española or Torta de Patates - is made with thinly sliced potatoes, onions, and eggs, gently cooked in olive oil. It is best served at room temperature or even cold, which makes it the perfect party dish!


  • 1-1/2 pounds potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced

  • 1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1 cup olive oil (I like using a Spanish olive varietal such as Picual)

  • 1 teaspoon Spanish paprika

  • 10 medium eggs

  • salt and pepper


Whisk together eggs, paprika, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Pour in the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet. Heat the olive oil until shimmering but not smoking. Add the potatoes and onions. Lower the heat and poach until the potatoes are tender and velvety, approximately 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the potatoes and leave about 3 Tablespoons of the cooking oil in the pan. Season the potatoes with salt and pepper; swirl to coat the pan completely with oil. Return the potatoes to the pan and press gently to flatten them out.

Heat the broiler, then pour the egg mixture over the top of the potatoes. Cook on medium-low heat until the edges begin to set and firm up.

Put the pan under the broiler to finish cooking. Broil for about 5 minutes. Allow the tortilla to cool before serving. To serve, invert the tortilla onto a large serving platter and cut into slices.

Stay tuned till the end of the month when I share a round-up of all the recipes inspired by this month's movie selection.

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