Patatas bravas or ‘spicy potatoes’ is a dish native to Spain, and served typically as a part of tapas: small plates of shared food. Like most tapas dishes go, they’re pretty straight-forward and simple to make but without compromising on flavour. Full disclosure: I’ve never been to Spain. Everything I know about their food only comes from scouring the internet and cookbooks from the region.
While the traditional Spanish version of the dish sees the potatoes cubed and deep-fried, I (obviously) went down the oven-roasting route. For this reason, I also chose to veer from regular spuds and used baby potatoes instead. Halved and roasted simply with olive oil and salt in a really hot oven, they go nice and crispy on the outside and remain tender within. We normally eat these as a side with eggs for breakfast (of course we do), so there’s no demanding, fiddly deep-fryer work in the morning either.
In keeping with the theme of ease and efficiency, I also make a larger batch of sauce than I need for one meal. And also make it in advance – it keeps really well in the fridge for up to 5 days and can be frozen indefinitely. So goes without saying that the measurements for the sauce below are for a double batch.
Quick note: I don’t see many recipes that call for red peppers in the bravas sauce. I’ve made them a few times without, but much prefer the depth and bulk that red peppers bring to the table here. The paprika I used was mild, so I adjusted the chilli powder accordingly. You might want to do the same.
OVEN-ROASTED PATATAS BRAVAS
- 500 grams baby potatoes
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- Parsley leaves, to serve (optional)
Bravas sauce: (makes a double batch)
- 2 red peppers, finely chopped
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 4 tomatoes, blended with the skins
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (I used a mild one)
- 1 ½ teaspoons sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoons chilli powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons red wine vinegar (or apple cider)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- 2 tablespoons mayo
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 220 C.
- Halve the potatoes lengthways and toss in olive oil and salt. Flip them cut-side down.
- Roast in the oven for 30 mins or until golden and slightly crispy. Pierce one to make sure it's cooked through. Toss with the bravas sauce, making sure to coat all the pieces evenly.
- Meanwhile make the sauce: add olive oil to a pan and sauté the onions, red peppers and garlic until nicely browned. Pour in the blended tomatoes. Season with smoked paprika, chilli powder, sugar and salt.
- Partially cover the pan and cook until it reduces to a thick paste - about 15-20 mins. Stir a few times in between and add a little water if it starts to dry out. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Tip the contents of the pan into a blender jar and add red wine vinegar. Blend to a smooth paste with ¼ - ⅓ cup of water. Taste and adjust seasoning. This makes double the quantity of sauce. Refrigerate or freeze the other half for later.
- For the aioli, stir together mayo, garlic and lemon juice. Taste and adjust.
- Dollop the aioli over the potatoes and sprinkle over parsley. Serve hot. Great for breakfast with a side of fried eggs.
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