Quarantine Cuisine: How Marben chef Chris Locke makes a bacon-y take on a Spanish tortilla

Quarantine Cuisine: How Marben chef Chris Locke makes a bacon-y take on a Spanish tortilla

We’re asking Toronto chefs to show us what they cook up using basic pantry supplies while they self-isolate at home

Like many of us, chef Chris Locke is confined to his home. We asked the social-distancing chef to whip us up a meal with ingredients he already had on hand. His recipe: a comforting slice of Spanish tortilla.

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The beautiful thing about chef Chris Locke’s homemade Spanish tortilla is that it can be a meal or a snack, and it requires only four ingredients. “This is a staple dish served in Spanish bars as a small bite, or pintxo. I learned to cook it when I visited Tolosa, which is in the Basque region,” says Locke.

This is classic comfort food for Locke. “It’s just deliciously simple and can be made with wholesome ingredients you probably already have in the home.” Locke admits that his use of bacon fat is not traditional but he says it’s porktastically tasty and adds a little smokiness to the dish. He adds that the rendered fat can be saved and reused as a flavour booster for your next meal. Want to make your tortilla vegetarian? No hay problema. Just substitute the bacon fat for olive oil.

Once you’ve mastered this recipe and want to up the ante, Locke says there are plenty of ways to jazz this dish up. “Preserved red peppers and boquerones are a great post-pandemic addition—unless you already happen to have these items at home.” And while you may be tempted to add shredded cheese, Locke advises against it because there’s already a lot of fat in the tortilla. “You don’t need the competing richness of cheese in the mix,” he says. “However, there’s nothing wrong with topping it with some ricotta and roasted tomatoes.”


6 large eggs
1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes
1 small yellow onion
2 tbsp bacon fat (or olive oil)
Salt and pepper
1 non-stick 20-x-5-inch pan

The recipe

First, get chopping and dice that onion.

If you need to cry, that’s okay. Let it out


Then peel your taters and cut them into cubes.

They don’t need to be perfect cubes, just good-sized chunks


And whisk those eggs.

Get crackin’


On medium-low heat, melt the bacon fat (or olive oil) in your non-stick pan and add the potatoes. (Don’t boil them or par-cook them first—let the bacon fat work its magic.)

Grease up that pan


Season the potatoes with salt and pepper, continuing to cook them on medium-low heat, covered. You’re going for soft but not browned. When the potatoes are almost ready, add the onion and let them sweat with the potatoes for 5 minutes. (Pro-tip: To know when the potatoes are almost ready, spear one cube with a knife. It should sink in with just a little bit of resistance toward the centre.)

You’re almost done


Turn the heat down to the lowest setting, then add the whisked eggs into the pan. Cover with a lid and cook very slowly until the egg is done. (The residual heat from the potatoes will give the tortilla a head start). The total cook time is about 40 to 60 minutes. You’ll be able to tell the egg is cooked through if you shake the pan slightly and the top is no longer liquidy.

Cover and cook for up to an hour. Make yourself another cup of coffee


Turn out onto a plate, cut some slices and serve.



You can eat it right away, or leave it to cool—it’s also tasty at room temperature.

Slice for what


Put any leftovers in the fridge (it’s good cold, too).

Locke’s wife, Roisin, gives it a thumbs up