Ever since our vacation to Spain earlier this year we’ve hosted a few dinner parties modeled after Spanish style meals and socializing. By this I mean that meals are leisurely, highly social with lively conversation prized as much or more than the food and drink, multi-course with lots of small bites, and may last for many hours.
What Makes This Special? The potatoes are cooked twice, resulting in OMG DELICIOUS – golden and crispy outside and tender inside. Nuff said. No wait, the sauce is also awesome. Now it’s nuff said.
The Playlist: Patatas Bravas translates to Fierce Potatoes in English, referring to the spices that appear in the dish three ways. Let’s give a listen to Fierce People by German electronic duo Blank & Jones as you read on.
Set the Table: I like to serve the sauce for the patatas bravas separately, in a small bowl or squeeze bottle like you would find at a burger joint for ketchup. One time I drizzled the sauce over the potatoes on the platter – so pretty, but some of the luscious tater crispiness was lost. It’s best to squeeze a little sauce onto the plate and dip the potatoes in before each bite.
As noted, the potatoes are dubbed ‘fierce’ thanks to a paprika-heavy spice mix that appears three times: first in the potatoes’ boiling water; next when the potatoes are tossed in a spice-salt blend after being fried; and finally in the savory dipping sauce. It’s more about flavor than burn-your-face-off hot, but you can adjust the seasonings up or down to suit your preference. Please click on the photos to enlarge them and read the captions.
Recipe source: Chef John via Allrecipes
- 1 clove garlic, minced, or more to taste
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 pinch salt
- 8 ounces mayonnaise
- ½ ounce sherry vinegar, or more to taste
- 1 ¼ teaspoons tomato paste
- ¼ teaspoon ground chipotle peppers
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or more to taste
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground chipotle peppers
- 64 ounces cold water
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 16 ounces vegetable oil for frying
- For the dipping sauce: Combine garlic, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, and a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle or mash together in a small bowl until smooth. Then add the garlic mix to a food processor along with mayonnaise, sherry vinegar, tomato paste, 1/4 teaspoon chipotle chile powder, and cayenne pepper until combined. Cover and refrigerate the dipping sauce.
- Note: You may wish to serve the dipping sauce from a squeeze bottle or a small serving bowl with a spoon.
- For the spice blend: Mix 1 tablespoon salt, black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon chipotle chile powder together in a small bowl. Set spice blend aside.
- For the potatoes: Pour water into a large saucepan and stir 1 tablespoon salt, 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, cumin, and bay leaves into water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover; simmer for 10 minutes.
- Stir potatoes into water-paprika mixture, bring to a boil, and simmer until potatoes are tender but not fully cooked, 4 to 5 minutes. The tip of a paring knife should easily insert into the center of a potato cube.
- Drain potatoes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, about 45 minutes or longer.
- Note: You can make the recipe ahead this far about 2 hours in advance. Leave the cool, dry potatoes on the wire rack and cover with a clean dish towel.
- Heat vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Add cooled potato cubes and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Transfer potatoes to a baking sheet lined with paper towels to cool slightly.
- Toss in a bowl with spice blend.
- Transfer the seasoned potatoes to a serving platter and pass the dipping sauce.