Hello, hello! I meant to post the recipe for these patatas bravas last week, but my parents were visiting San Francisco and I was having way too much fun showing them around. We explored every nook and cranny of my new city, ate some delicious meals, and survived a heat wave (yes, over 80 degrees is considered a heat wave here). They even got to experience a minor earthquake while I was still fast asleep, making it a true San Francisco experience. It was a wonderful visit and I’m already looking forward to them returning.
I mentioned in my last post that I would be sharing a series of my favorite Spanish dishes with you. This week’s recipe is for patatas bravas, which literally translates into “brave potatoes”. These crisp, salty potatoes get their brave status from a spicy tomato sauce, which, I should warn, is not for the faint of heart. This is by far my favorite potato dish when I go to a Spanish restaurant, so I wanted to recreate it at home for whenever a craving strikes.
As I researched ideas for how to make patatas bravas at home, I realized that there seem to be a lot of different versions out there. Some of the sauces looked completely smooth, while others had chunky tomatoes in them; some were topped with mayo or garlic aioli, while others had nothing but the tomato sauce. I even saw that a Spanish commenter on a recipe website uses ketchup in her sauce. Paprika was another differentiator: some recipes called for sweet paprika, some for hot paprika, some for smoked…it all ended up being a bit overwhelming. I think, like any recipe, it comes down to personal preference. This is my interpretation of patatas bravas, which I hope is similar to what you’d find in Spain. What I do know is that my husband gave it the seal of approval, which I’m taking as a good sign since he’s half-Spanish.
Just like my recipe for the Indian potato dish Aloo Gobi, I’ve roasted the potatoes here rather than frying them. Not only does this avoid the mess of potatoes sticking to the skillet, but it’s also healthier and cheaper. Plus, I think roasting potatoes allows them to crisp up so beautifully. While the potatoes are roasting, the tomato sauce simmers away on the stovetop, ready to drench the potatoes as soon as they come out of the oven. A small dollop of mayo mellows out that brave sauce, and there you have it: perfectly golden potatoes with a spicy, smoky, slightly sweet sauce, ready for you to devour.
Although most often this is a side dish, I’ve happily eaten it as a main with a green salad on the side. Once you start eating it, you might want it to be your main dish too.
- For the potatoes:
- 2 pounds small yellow potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces (unpeeled)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- For the tomato sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon pureed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (regular paprika is fine if you can't find smoked)
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Optional garnishes:
- Chopped parsley
- Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Add the chopped potatoes to a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Roast the potatoes for 40-50 minutes, flipping them halfway through.
- In the meantime, prepare the tomato sauce. Add the olive oil and onion to a large pan and cook over medium heat for about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for about one more minute, stirring often.
- Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pan and increase the heat. Let the sauce bubble for about 10 minutes, stirring often, and then reduce the heat to allow the sauce to simmer.
- Once the potatoes have reached a desired crispness, add them to a large bowl. Pour the tomato sauce over the potatoes, and garnish with a dollop of mayonnaise or aioli and some chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
-Afraid of the spice level? Start with 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne and work your way up until you reach your desired level of spice.
-Want to keep the dish vegan? I recently started using Vegenaise at home and absolutely love it with this dish.
-Recipe loosely adapted from BBC Good Food.