Serves: 4 (side/tapas portions)
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
Patatas Bravas is traditionally a spanish tapas dish that is often served on it’s own, but I like to use it as a side dish with a protein and veggies. It’s a dish that is made up of three main parts: fried potato chunks, a spicy tomato sauce and an aioli.
What you’ll need:
For the potatoes:
- 4 large potatoes (peeled & chopped)
- Canola oil
- Pinch of salt
For the sauce:
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 1 large onion (roughly chopped)
- 3 garlic cloves (roughly chopped)
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1 Tbsp cayenne
- Salt & pepper
For the aioli:
- 2 Tbsp Mayonaise
- 2 garlic cloves (finely sliced)
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp cumin
- Salt & Pepper
Get some heavily salted water on the boil in a large heavy pot. While you’re waiting for the water to boil, peel your potatoes and then cut them in half length-ways. Then cut the halves down the middle so you have two wedges and cut each wedge into three pieces. Put the potatoes into the boiling water and cook them to about 90% readiness. Give them a stab with a pairing knife - they should be soft, but not falling apart. Get them out of the water onto a baking tray lined with kitchen paper and stick them in the freezer to cool for 10 mins, this’ll help them get crispy when you fry them.
While the potatoes are chilling, get started with the sauce. In a medium saucepan, on low heat, sauté the roughly chopped onions and garlic with the cayenne, paprika and some salt and pepper. You don’t what them to brown, you just want them to soften. Sauté for about 10 minutes and then add your tin of tomatoes and stir through. Turn the heat up to medium and get the mixture simmering rapidly. Cook for around 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened and darkened to a rich red colour and remove from the heat and leave that to cool.
While your sauce is cooling, get back to your potatoes. In a heavy, high-walled pot, get about 3cm of canola oil to frying temperature. To test the oil, lower one piece of potato into the oil with a flat slotted spoon and if the oil begins to boil rapidly around the potato you know it is ready. Spoon the rest of the potatoes in, being careful not add them in too quickly and to prevent splattering or boiling over. Leave the potatoes in the oil for a few minutes moving them occasionally until they are golden brown and crispy.
While your potatoes are frying, you can finish off your sauce. With a hand-held blender, blend the sauce to a smooth consistency with no lumps. Set that aside. Now get started with your aioli. Using a pestle and mortar, grind your garlic, cayenne, paprika, cumin and a pinch of salt and pepper into a rough paste, then add your mayonnaise. Mix that all together and you’ll have yourself a spicy aioli.
Once your potatoes are crispy and golden, spoon them out of the oil onto some kitchen paper to drain the excess oil. Then in a mixing bowl, toss the potatoes and a few tablespoons of your sauce so that all of the potatoes are coated in a thin layer - you can play with the amount of sauce to get it to your liking.
Serve the potatoes with some kosher salt flakes and you can drizzle the aioli on top or serve it on the side.
Have any suggestions for how to improve the recipe, or just want to hurl insults at me? Leave them in the comments below.
Cape Town based creative and strategist in the advertising industry. I love food, cycling, running, adventure, and my family. Things I write about: food, travel, technology and some personal stuff.