Patatas Bravas-Spain

Patatas bravas is a classic Spanish tapa and one I feasted on numerous times during my semester abroad in Spain. In Spanish patata is the word for potato and bravas in the case of this Spanish dish implies that the potatoes are so hot that it is manly or brave to eat them.

My cookbook The Complete Book of Tapas and Spanish Cooking notes “there are several variations on this chili and potato dish, but the most important thing is the spicing, which is made hotter still by adding vinegar.” While my version was most likely not as fiery as ones found in Espana I was overall impressed by the turnout, both appearance wise and taste wise especially since this was my first attempt at making it.  I served the patatas bravas along with the Vieras de Santiago which I made for a second time in the course of just one week (hey, when you find a winner, you stick with it).

If I were to return to Spain there are so many things I would look forward to sampling again (tortilla espanola, croquetas de jamon) and now added to the list, patatas bravas.

Patatas Bravas
recipe from The Complete Book of Tapas and Spanish Cooking by Pepita Aris
1/2 pound small new potatoes
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, sliced
3 dried chillies, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons red or white wine vinegar
1 red or green (bell) pepper-seeded and sliced
coarse sea salt, for sprinkling (optional) 
-Scrub the potatoes and put them into a pan of salted water. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes, or until almost tender. Drain and leave to cool slightly. Peel, if you like, then cut into chunks. 
-Heat the oil in a large frying or saute pan and fry the potatoes, turning them frequently, until golden.
-Meanwhile, crush together the garlic, chillies and cumin using a mortar and pestle. Mix the paste with the paprika and wine vvinegar, then add to the potatoes with the sliced pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Scatter with salt, if using, and serve hot as a tapas dish or cold as a side dish. 

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