Well hello, lovely Spiced Curiosity readers! This is Amy from Club Narwhal. Like you, I adore Miachel’s simple, elegant recipes and her commitment to healthy cooking. And I cannot get enough of her gorgeous photos! Since we both have been bitten by the travel bug we wanted to recreate food from our favorite travel destinations. I am so excited to share this recipe for Patatas Bravas with you. When you are done here, stop by Club Narwhal to see what Miachel whipped up!
Patatas Bravas, or potatoes with a temper, are a traditional Spanish tapas dish made up of golden fried potatoes drizzled in garlicky aioli and tomato sauce. What is not to love? Patatas Bravas immediately transport me back to Barcelona where I shamelessly ate my way through plate after plate.
During my first few trips to Barcelona, I was a poor college student looking to escape the harsh Parisian winter where I had been studying. I could not afford the luxury of paella or other fancy Spanish cuisine so I opted for these cheap and filling potatoes. The crisp, salty tubers satisfied me to no end. And don’t even get me started on the spiced red sauce mingling perfectly with all that smooth aioli. Of course I grew obsessed.
More recently, patatas bravas remind me of Zaragoza, a lovely Spanish town I visited earlier this summer en route to Morocco. Zaragoza is defined by its beautiful Moorish architecture, such as its famed Basilica of Our Lady Pilar, which looks particularly mythic when viewed across the bridge with the setting sun.
When I came home from Spain, I immediately planted seed potatoes. I imagined chilly fall evenings filled with the warmth of potatoes sizzling in a cast iron pan. Eating patatas bravas would put sand under my feet, even in the cooling autumn months, would put me back in Zaragoza’s bustling market with its piles of artichokes and golden tomatoes.
Our first harvest yielded the smallest purple gems. I paired the purple Peruvian fingerlings with a small bag of baby Yukons. The combination was perfect–the earthy fingerlings provided a satisfying contrast to the buttery yellow potatoes. While most potatoes will work with this dish, I would avoid Russet and go with something yellow.
In order to get the coveted crisp on the outside, pillowy soft on the inside texture, parboil the potatoes before frying. If you are opposed to frying, you may certainly roast the potatoes in a bit of olive oil and kosher salt. While fried food isn’t exactly healthy, I believe in splurging every now and again, especially if it results in a dish as simple and delicious as patatas bravas.
This red sauce is a thing of beauty. You will want to put it on everything. But it tastes particularly divine with a plate of freshly fried potatoes dusted in smoked paprika and salt. As for the aioli, if it seems to fussy to make at home, just use your favorite mayo spiked with a healthy dose of garlic. If you are vegan, try mixing a few cloves of minced garlic into Vegenaise to approximate the garlic aioli. Either way, don’t forget the red sauce. It is magic.
If you are looking for more simple meatless meals, try one of these:
And don’t forget to stop by Club Narwhal to check out Miachel’s travel-inspired recipe!
PATATAS BRAVAS WITH RED SAUCE & GARLIC AIOLI
For the Potatoes
Adapted from Serious Eats
3 lbs. waxy baby potatoes
water, enough to cover potatoes
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Slice the baby potatoes in half (you may also use regular sized potatoes, sliced into one-inch pieces). Place in a large pot and cover potatoes with water. Add salt and vinegar. Boil for 8-10 minutes, until a fork goes smoothly through the flesh. Drain the potatoes and run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Set aside to dry as you make the sauces.
When the potatoes are dry, heat a few tablespoons of oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high. Place potatoes in a single layer cut side down and fry for 3 minutes, until crusty and golden brown. Shake the pan to flip the potatoes and fry for another 2-3 minutes. This will take several batches. Transfer onto a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with kosher salt and paprika. Serve with red sauce and aioli.
For the Red Sauce
Adapted from the Denver Post
1/2 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon crushed red paper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 14 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Combine the onion, garlic and olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Simmer until onions are soft, about five minutes. Add the crushed red pepper and paprika. Cook for another three minutes. Add the tomatoes, sugar, and vinegar and stir to mix. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer until thick, about 10-15 minutes. You can run the sauce through a blender to smooth, or serve as is.
For the Garlic Aioli
Adapted from Food52
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tablespoon cider vinegar, room temperature
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/4 cup olive oil
I tried three different methods to make aioli and I liked the hand mixer method best. In a medium bowl mix the yolk, vinegar, garlic, and salt together on medium-high for 4-5 minutes. The mixture will become very frothy and will then begin to thicken. When it starts to thicken, switch the mixer speed to high and slowly add a thread-like stream of oil, mixing constantly as you go. You may not need all of the oil. Add more salt to taste. Let the aioli sit in the fridge for 30 minutes before using.
Amy Lee Scott lives for food, travel, and books. She blogs about her adventures at Club Narwhal. As a metro Detroit transplant, she loves exploring her new city and finding the gems beneath the rubble (and there is a lot of rubble in Detroit). When she’s not daydreaming about her next travel destination, she is reading her way through a mountain of books or playing her ukulele. You can find her on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.