Potluck dinner

You know what I love? Potluck dinners. For those of you who are not native speakers of English, a potluck dinner is where you meet up with a bunch of people, and everyone brings something that they’ve cooked so share with the other guests. This is really great, because you get to sample all kinds of dishes from all kinds of different people, which is fun, especially if you’re in a group of many different nationalities.

However, if you’re having a potluck dinner with students, like I was last week, things don’t usually tend to go quite so well. Everyone is low on cash and busy writing essays, so no-one really has time or money to make something nice. The trick is to make something for as little money as possible, but to get a proper meal out of the potluck as well and not go home hungry. I’m no better than anyone else, so I don’t mind accepting that challenge.

For reasons I cannot even fathom there’s always an inexplicably large number of people who bring a dessert. Maybe because it’s easy and reasonably cheap to bake a large traybake, I’m not sure, but there’s almost always more sweet than savoury food, so that was no option.

An added difficulty in our case was that we were having our potluck dinner in one of the uni buildings, so we had no access to facilities to store or reheat any of the food, critically limiting the range of possible contributions to sandwiches and… well, yeah, what else?

I settled for a tortilla de patatas. I would have brought sandwiches but I was told someone else had already said they would bring sandwiches and I thought I should probably not make the same. And tortilla is easy and pretty cheap and it only involves about three ingredients.

The turn-out was pretty much as expected. There was a tray of sandwiches, my tortilla and a frittata, which is essentially the same thing but nicer. One person had brought a bag of crisps, and someone had also brought a pack of crackers and three different types of cheese, but nothing to cut the cheese with which seriously complicated the matter of the crackers and cheese. There were no less than four desserts. There were home-made rocky roads and flapjacks, and store-bought doughnuts and muffins. Thankfully the supply of wine was taken care of by someone who has a thorough understanding of the nature of these events and a great time was had by all, so that the matter of the food wasn’t really that important anymore.

So, tortilla de patatas. For a potluck dinner, or just for yourself, in your own house.

tortilla de patatas

  • 10 eggs
  • 2 sizeable potatoes
  • an onion
  • salt
  • olive oil


  • a handful of fresh flat parsley
  • some smoked paprika

The seasoning that I added in, I think, is not really authentic, but fuck it, it was nice. I think maybe my many ingredients mean that it’s no longer a tortilla, but that is has become a frittata. Whatever. Call it what you like. It’s basically just a large omelette with potatoes in it.


So, wash your potatoes and slice them into thin slices. Peel the onion and slice that up as well. Fry the slices in some olive oil.

Meanwhile, put the eggs in a bowl, add any seasoning you might want or just the salt, and beat them thoroughly. Pour them over the potatoes and leave the whole thing on low heat for quite a while, maybe 25 minutes, until it seems to be near solid. The, using a plate or a lid or something, turn the whole thing over and leave to fry on low heat for another 5 minutes. All done.

tortilla de patatas

tortilla de patatas


About La dittatrice

After years of being based in Glasgow, I've recently made a home for myself in Turin, Italy, for the time being, at least. This blog is my captain's log. Here I note down what I did, and what I ate. A story, then a recipe. That's how this here works. Updates on Wednesdays.
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One Response to Potluck dinner

  1. Pingback: Dinner club | La dittatrice della cucina

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