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Patatas Bravas: A Flavorful Spanish Tapas Staple

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Patatas Bravas is a quintessential Spanish dish that has become a staple in tapas bars around the world. This popular dish features crispy fried potatoes served with a spicy tomato sauce and often accompanied by a garlicky aioli. Patatas Bravas are beloved for their crunchy exterior, tender interior, and bold flavors that combine the richness of potatoes with the tanginess of the sauces. Here’s how to make authentic Patatas Bravas at home, along with tips to ensure they turn out crispy, flavorful, and irresistibly delicious.

Ingredients:

For the Patatas Bravas:

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • Salt, to taste

For the Brava Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Aioli (optional):

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Garnish:

  • Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Instructions:

1. Prepare the Potatoes:

  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Rinse the cubes under cold water to remove excess starch.
  • Pat the potatoes dry with paper towels to ensure they fry evenly.

2. Fry the Potatoes:

  • In a large skillet or frying pan, heat enough vegetable oil to cover the potatoes over medium-high heat.
  • Carefully add the potato cubes to the hot oil in a single layer. Fry the potatoes in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan.
  • Fry the potatoes for about 5-7 minutes, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown and crispy on all sides.
  • Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the fried potatoes to a plate lined with paper towels to drain excess oil.
  • Season the potatoes with salt immediately while they are still hot.

3. Make the Brava Sauce:

  • In a small saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the minced garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Stir in both hot smoked paprika and sweet paprika, along with cayenne pepper, and cook for another 1 minute to toast the spices.
  • Add the tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes and vinegar to the pan. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Simmer the sauce for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it thickens slightly. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. Prepare the Aioli (Optional):

  • In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Mix well until smooth and creamy.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

5. Serve Patatas Bravas:

  • Arrange the crispy fried potatoes on a serving platter or individual plates.
  • Drizzle the Brava sauce generously over the potatoes.
  • Optionally, serve with the garlic aioli on the side or drizzled over the top.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh parsley for added freshness and color.

Tips for Success:

  • Potato Selection: Use starchy potatoes like Russet or Yukon Gold for the best texture. They crisp up nicely when fried.
  • Frying Technique: Ensure the oil is hot enough before adding the potatoes to achieve crispy results. Fry in batches to maintain the temperature of the oil.
  • Seasoning: Season the potatoes immediately after frying while they are still hot. This allows the salt to adhere to the potatoes and enhances their flavor.
  • Sauce Consistency: Adjust the thickness of the Brava sauce by simmering longer for a thicker consistency or adding a bit of water if it becomes too thick.

Nutritional Benefits:

Patatas Bravas are rich in carbohydrates from potatoes and provide essential vitamins and minerals. While they are indulgent, they can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve Patatas Bravas as a tapa (appetizer) or alongside other Spanish dishes like Tortilla Española, grilled meats, or seafood. Pair with a glass of Spanish red wine or a refreshing beer to complement the flavors.

Conclusion:

Patatas Bravas encapsulates the bold flavors and textures of Spanish cuisine, making it a favorite among tapas enthusiasts worldwide. By following this recipe and tips, you can recreate the authentic taste of Patatas Bravas at home. Enjoy the crispy potatoes, tangy Brava sauce, and creamy aioli, and savor each bite of this classic Spanish dish!

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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