Bravo Patatas Bravas

Patatas bravas is a popular dish native to the cuisine of Spain where they are commonly served in bars accompanied by a glass of local wine. They can be found on most tapas menus throughout the U.S. In fact, it is always the first item we order at our favorite tapas restaurant, Eclipse di Luna.

The dish is made with white potatoes that have been cut into about 1-inch cubes, fried in oil, and served warm with a spicy sauce. However, the preparation of the accompanying sauce varies by city. In Burgos, the sauce is tomato-based and includes a variety of spices that give it bite, while in Catalonia and Valencia, the potatoes are served with an aioli made with olive oil, red pepper, paprika, chili, and vinegar.

All variations, however, include Spanish paprika. We recently received samples of hot smoked paprika and (picante) and sweet smoked paprika (dulce) from La Chinata and what better way to enjoy the flavor than with this traditional Spanish dish.

1 cup peanut oil
4 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cut to 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons hot Spanish paprika (La Chinta Picante)
2 tablespoons kosher salt
Chopped parsley, to garnish

In a large skillet, heat the peanut oil. Rinse the potatoes in cold water and pat dry. Test oil by placing one potato cube in the skillet, if it sizzles and forms tiny bubbles around it, the oil is ready. Take care when adding the potatoes to the saucepan because the oil will splatter (which is part of the reason you patted them dry.) Fry the potatoes in oil working in batches until they are halfway done. Yes, halfway! When the potatoes start to look white and opaque (about 7 minutes) remove them to a rack to drain and cool.

Once completely cooled, re-fry the potatoes (working in batches again) until they are golden brown and crispy. Again remove potatoes to a cooling rack to drain.

Mix together paprika and salt. Placing the fried potatoes in a bowl, sprinkle paprika salt over the potatoes and toss to ensure that all the potatoes are well coated. You can place them in a 200oF oven until ready to serve if needed.

½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon ground oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

This can be made ahead and actually improves the longer it sits. Mix all ingredients together until completely combined and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place (covered) in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Serve patatas in a shallow bowl and garnish with chopped fresh parsley and the bravas sauce on the side for dipping. We suggest making extras because one tapa serving is never enough!