Crispy Potatoes in Spicy Tomato Sauce – Patatas Bravas

This is one of the most highlighted recipes in the Kindle edition of Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools, and I can understand why! Our neighbours cook it often, and we love it because it’s perfect as a tapas snack or with meat or fish. Patatas Bravas is probably one of the spiciest dishes cooked in Spain.

Serves 4

  • 1 kg (2 lb) potatoes, peeled, and cut into 2cm (1in) inch cubes
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500g (1lb) tomatoes
  • 3 teaspoons (paprika)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon tomato puree
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • Chopped parsley to garnish

Par-boil the potatoes for 5 to 10 minutes. Drain the water. Let the steam evaporate for a minute or so and then give the pan a good shake. This roughs up the outsides nicely. Set aside.

Prepare the tomatoes by cutting a cross in the base and plunging them into boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds.  Plunge into cold water and the skin should peel away easily.  Chop the tomatoes.

Fry the onion until soft.  Add the garlic, paprika, thyme and cayenne pepper, then cook for another couple of minutes.

Add the chopped tomato and puree and cook, uncovered, until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. During cooking, add the salt and pepper to taste.  If the sauce seems too dry, add a little water.

Meanwhile, re-heat the frying oil and fry the potatoes until golden brown. This gives them a crisp coating and prevents the sauce from soaking in too much. They should be beautifully crisp outside and soft and fluffy inside.

To serve, place the potatoes in a serving bowl, then cover with the spicy sauce.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley.