Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Potato Challenge: Spanish Potatoes (Patatas Bravas)

Our local Kroger is having a "Taste of Spain" promotion this week. What better week than to select "Spanish Foods" for Monday night dinner?

Before the start of this week I only knew of 2 Spanish foods: Paella (I LOVE, LOVE LOVE paella - Thank you for making it, Leanna.) and tapas.  I knew about paella from having eaten it in Spain and about tapas from David Sedaris' essay "6 to 8 black men" where he asserts that "[Santa] certainly doesn't eat tapas".  By the way, the essay is definitely worth a read - or even better - a listen.  I enjoy David Sedaris' works most when they're read by the master himself, but I digress.

After discovering that there are quite a few Spanish potato recipes, I selected patatas bravas for this week.

As usually I looked at a number of different recipes on the Internet. It seemed like there were several versions of the recipe: one called for frying the potatoes first, another one suggested that they be baked at 450°F while a third recipe called for an oven temperature of 375°F.  Since I have never had "authentic" patatas bravas, I had no idea what recipe would be the "right" one.  Instead, I could only go by what was the one I preferred.

As part of my trial run on Sunday, I played with all of the above.  I fried the potatoes first, then followed up with some time in the oven at 375°F as one recipe suggested.  Those potatoes were good, but not as browned and crunchy as I would have liked.  Given my time constraints for Monday evening's dinner, a one-step procedure would actually be advantageous.  For a second attempt I simply put the potatoes in the oven at 450°F for 30 minutes, and that actually worked out nicely.

Of all the recipe posts I found, one stood out because it suggested that, rather than serving the potatoes and sauce separately, the potatoes should be tossed in the spicy tomato sauce and put back in oven.  Again, I tried it both ways, and I definitely preferred the sauce baked onto the potatoes over just baked potatoes with spicy tomato sauce.  This version of the recipe gave each potato bite a nice little spicy kick. I also made an allioli sauce as another one of the recipe posts suggested.  Drizzling a little of the garlicky allioli over the potatoes baked with the tomato sauce made for a very nice flavor experience.

Sorry, no pictures of the preview potatoes.  They were gone too fast...

But here is a picture of my contribution to Monday night dinner.  They went fast, too.


Patatas Bravas:

For the potatoes
1.5 – 2 pounds Yukon potatoes, diced into irregular bite size pieces (1/2 to 1")
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
garlic salt to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Dice potatoes to 1/2" to 1" pieces and drop them into water.  This will keep them from browning and also aid in making them crunchier during baking
Dry potatoes thoroughly.
Toss potatoes in a bowl to coat them with 2-3 Tbsp olive oil and garlic salt to taste.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Turn potatoes once about half-way through cooking.
(I actually took them out about halfway through baking to dry them off again in an effort to enhance the crunch.)

For the tomato sauce
1 yellow onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic salt
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
2-3 tsp hot sauce
Start on the spicy tomato sauce once the potatoes are in the oven.  Alternatively, the sauce can be prepared in advance.
Heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and saute until translucent and barely browning at the edges.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
Add tomato sauce (or diced tomatoes), paprika, minced garlic and hot sauce.  Stir.
Cook until simmering, but.
Adjust flavor to taste with more garlic or hot sauce.
Blend ingredients until smooth (if desired).

When the potatoes are done, toss in tomato sauce and return them to the oven.
Bake 10 more minutes until sauce has dried onto potatoes just a bit.
I found that a tomato sauce that was almost "too spicy" by itself made for a really nice touch on the bakes potato pieces.
I added some Parmesan cheese at the very end - and chopped cilantro just before serving.

For the allioli
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg yolk
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
1/2 cup olive oil

To make the allioli, add garlic, egg yolk, lemon juice, salt and olive oil to a tall container.  Emulsify everything using an immersion blender.  (For a video how easy it is to emulsify eggs and oil using an immersion blender, click here.) If you don't have an immersion blender, add all ingredients other than the olive oil to a bowl.  Create an emulsion by slowly drizzling the olive oil into the bowl while constantly whisking until an emulsion forms. (Just between you and me, I suggest that you buy an immersion blender instead. It makes life so much easier.)

Serve potatoes with both tomato sauce and allioli on the side.



No comments:

Post a Comment