I like making tapas. It’s a lot of work but I think it is worth the effort. I like eating them even more! After doing the Tapas Trail and then going on holidays where we had tapas several evenings, I decided it was time to get a patatas bravas recipe I was happy with. I usually pulled recipes from the internet but I had been eyeing up Morito by Samuel and Samantha Clark and Tapas Revolution by Omar Alibhoy for some time. However as there doesn’t seem to be a recipe for this dish in Tapas Revolution, I went with Morito. It’s a beautiful book and I hope to blog more recipes from it over the coming months.
Patatas Bravas are cubed and deep fried chunks of potatoes served with a sauce as a tapa in Spanish bars. Usually there is a rich spicy tomato sauce and then occasionally a garlic style mayonnaise. I don’t know the difference between aioli and allioli but basically they are both essentially posh garlic mayonnaise. When I first made this I used too much garlic for some (I don’t think there is such a thing!). I would recommend starting with a half of a clove and work your way up from there to your own tastes. I took from a recipe from Paul Flynn to add creme fraiche which lightens the sauce up a bit. This keeps covered in the fridge for a few days. Both sauces can be made in advance and then just reheat the tomato sauce before serving.
I tried roasting the potatoes in the oven as recommended in some recipes as a healthier option but they just weren’t right for my liking. I was also anxious that the tomato sauce was a little rich when I made it first but the secret is to not over-reduce it when cooking. It also tasted nicer the day after I made it. This sauce is taken directly from the Morito cookbook. It makes nearly double what you need for this recipe so you can freeze what is left over for next time. I serve it beneath the potatoes so that they don’t go soggy but some like to stir it through potatoes, go with whatever works best for you.
Serves 2 – 4
- 4 potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2cm sized cubes (I used rooster potatoes)
- 1 litre of sunflower oil
For the bravas sauce:
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 tbsp rosemary finely chopped
- 1 sprig of thyme, leaves chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 dried red chillies, crumbled
- 3 tbsp red wine
- 400g tin of tomatoes
- a pinch of sugar
- a pinch of hot paprika
- a pinch of smoked sweet paprika
- Salt and pepper to season
For the aioli
- ½ – 1 clove garlic
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 egg yolks
- A splash of white wine vinegar (less than 1/2 tsp approx)
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 100ml extra virgin olive oil
- 100ml groundnut or sunflower oil
- 1 tbsp creme fraiche
- Salt and pepper to season
- Start by making the bravas sauce. Heat the oil in a saucepan over a medium heat.
- Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and chillies and fry for a few minutes until you smell the garlic and herbs cooking.
- Blitz the tin of tomatoes with a hand blender until smooth.
- Add the tomatoes, wine, sugar and both paprikas along with a pinch of salt to the saucepan.
- Cook the sauce over a medium high heat for about 15 minutes. You want it to thicken and reduce a bit. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary. Remove the bay leaves before serving.
- Next make your aioli. Crush the clove of garlic with the salt and add it with the mustard and egg yolks to a blender or food processor. Whizz them up until smooth.
- Add the vinegar and lemon juice and blitz it again briefly so that everything is combined.
- Leave the machine running and very slowly trickle in the groundnut and then the olive oil to form a rich smooth mayonnaise.
- Gently fold in the creme fraiche and just mix until combined. Taste and season if necessary. Cover with cling film and set aside.
- Season the potatoes with salt and leave for 20 minutes or so. You want them to dry a little so that there is no moisture on them when you start to fry them.
- Heat the oil in either a large saucepan or in a deep fat fryer. Remember not to fill more than half way with oil. Heat to about 180C. You don’t want it to be smoking hot.
- Lower the potatoes into the oil. Don’t overcrowd the oil as the temperature will reduce too quickly and not cook the potatoes properly. I always do it in batches. I like to half cook them, remove and allow them to cool and then drop them back into the oil just to crisp up. I think they are fluffier inside but crisp on the outside when done this way. However, you might think this is a waste of time so just cook until they are crisp and golden outside. Season with salt.
- Remove from the oil drain on kitchen paper.
- To serve, spoon some of the tomato sauce – about 2 tablespoons per oerson- on to a plate, pile on the potatoes and top with a little of the aioli.