My love for their patatas bravas, or fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce, has become a joke amongst my friends. When my arrival in the homeland draws near, they tell me they've instructed Andreita (our favorite waitress) to start mass production in preparation for a bravas-deprived Sara. In spite of this generous lead time, the potatoes always take too long to come out of the kitchen. In their defense, I fell like any length of time is too long when I've been waiting months. When the patatas bravas finally make an appearance at our table, with an accompanying bread basket, our forks are ready to attack. We dig in, washing down the spiciness with some cold beer and, in between bites, raise our glasses to great friends who always watch your back and your stomach.
Why it's taken me this long to bring this little taste of home to my kitchen dumbfounds me. A couple weeks ago I decided I needed to make my own version of this tapa and I started looking into how other people do so. I should have known that, this being such a traditional appetizer, there'd be about a million ways to make patatas bravas. Most of them require boiling and then frying the potatoes. I baked them instead because, as some of you know, I hate cleaning the mess that comes with frying. Baking also has the added bonus of making them a bit healthier. As for the sauce, I've seen recipes of varying complexity. I opted to keep it really simple and I'm happy to report the result was still delicious.
What are some food stops you absolutely must make when you're close to home?
Patatas Bravas (Potatoes with Spicy Tomato Sauce)
Makes about 4 servings of potatoes and about 1 3/4 cups of sauce
- 2 lbs / 907 g yellow-fleshed potatoes (I used Yukon Gold), cut into about 3/4 inch / 2 cm die (my potatoes are more like semi-die, as you can see in the picture)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 15 oz / 425 g can crushed tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons paprika
- 1/2-1 1/2 teaspoons ground cayenne pepper or hot sauce
2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add the paprika and the cayenne and toast for a minute or so. Pour in the tomatoes and the salt, stirring to combine. Let the sauce bubble for about 5-10 minutes or until heated through. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
3. Once the potatoes are done, take them out of the oven and pour a generous quantity of sauce over them. Enjoy with a cold beverage and have some bread handy to sop up any extra sauce.