Friday, November 30, 2012

Patatas Bravas – Fierce Up Your Fries

I always thought Patatas Bravas meant “brave potatoes,” which seemed a little strange since what was supposed to be so brave about them? Amazingly delicious, yes, but valiant, fearless or courageous? I don’t think so. Well, apparently my translation skills were lacking, and come to find out it actually means “fierce.” Now that makes sense.

As advertised, these are fiercely textured, fiercely flavored, fiercely presented, and fiercely enjoyed. How fierce is really up to you and your inner Spaniard. There are as many patatas bravas recipes as homes in Spain, and this is nothing more than my latest rendition. 

As long as you boil them first, fry crisp, and season earnestly, the rest is open to wild experimentation. I’ve used all sort of blanching liquids, spice blends, and sauces, and never been disappointed.

My control around food is generally decent, but I am no match for a plate of these. Once you start with the toothpick, you’ll be impaling and eating potatoes until they’re gone. If you are making these for a group, just do in batches and keep warm in the oven until you have enough. Just don’t salt until the last second, or they can get soggy. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 pounds russet potatoes
For the boiling liquid:
2 quarts cold water
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
2 bay leaves

For the sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
garlic to taste
pinch of salt
1 tsp tomato paste
1-2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
cayenne to taste

For the spice blend (makes lots extra):
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chipotle powder
chopped parsley

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