Patatas Bravas is Spanish for "fierce potatoes". Small fried potato cubes smothered in a spicy tomato sauce. Served as a tapas portion or as a side dish. Simple to prepare and cook, universally appreciated.
1.5kg / 3.3lb old potatoes
Olive oil, enough to shallow fry the potatoes.
500g canned tomato passata
1 garlic clove
1 level tablespoon plain flour
1½ to 2½ teaspoons hot paprika
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon of red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper
Chop the onion and garlic as fine as you can - a hand blender can be used to do this.
Blend the tomatoes (fresh or tinned) to an even consistency - not required if using passata.
Peel the potatoes and cut them into rough 3 cm (1in) cubes.
It's fine to use tinned / boxed passata tomatoes in place of fresh tomatoes or tinned semi chopped tomatoes, it saves the initial blending of the fresh tomatoes. We use fresh tomatoes for the Bravas sauce because we just prefer fresh .
The thickness of the sauce will depend on the level of liquid in in the tomatoes. If the sauce is too thick then add some water just before serving to get the correct consistency. If the sauce is too runny then boil it for a minute or so stirring constantly.
The recipe picture shows the sauce on the potatoes as do most other pictures of Patatas Bravas. In fact it tastes better if the potatoes and sauce are served separately. That way the potatoes remain crisp and they can be dipped in the Bravas sauce. If 4 or more people are eating this dish it's more fun to have one central bowl of sauce in the middle of the table.
It's easiest to prepare the sauce first then cook the potatoes. Keep the Bravas sauce on a low heat while cooking the potatoes.
"Hot paprika" is simply a mixture of 90% paprika and 10% chilli powder. We used the two ingredients to make our hot paprika.
Pour the olive oil into the pan on a low to medium heat and add the chopped onions and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes turning the onions frequently until they are translucent.
Add the hot paprika, cumin seeds and red wine vinegar to the onions and mix in well for a minute or so.
Add the tomatoes to the pan and mix all the ingredients together well.
Let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes. Have a taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Canned tomatoes already have salt in them for some reason, fresh tomatoes don't. If the sauce is not hot enough, add a bit more hot paprika until it's as you like.
Simmering sauce for Patatas Bravas
Whilst stirring, sprinkle in the flour and make sure it's well mixed in. This will give the sauce the typical thickness for Patatas Bravas.
Next, gently force the mixture through a sieve. The back of a large spoon is ideal for this. At the end, the sieve should contain the majority of the unwanted larger onion bits, tomato pips and tomato skin.
Put the tomato sauce back into the pan on a low heat to keep it warm while you cook the potatoes. If the sauce dries out too much, add some water and stir in.
Sieving tomato sauce
Place the cubed potatoes in salted boiling water and cook on a medium heat for 8 minutes. Drain the potatoes, leave them to cool for a couple minutes.
Now shake them in the pan for 30 seconds or so, to slightly roughen the edges of the potato cubes. This will help them crisp up better when fried in the next step.STEP 5
Pour olive oil in the pan to a depth of about 1½cm (½in) and heat to a medium heat. Carefully place the potato cubes in the oil and cook until they are golden brown.
This will take about 10 minutes depending on how hot the oil is. Keep turning the potatoes whilst they are frying so that they are an even colour.
Serve the potatoes and tomato sauce into warmed bowls - place the empty bowls (microwave safe!) into your microwave for two minutes to warm them.
Frying potato cubes