Thursday, June 3, 2010

Patatas Bravas

I went to Madrid for a summer and it was hot. Not drop-it-like-its-hot, but sweltering, schvitzing, cut off all my hair because I can’t stop sweating, Hades hot…and I loved every second if it. So when the mercury is rising and the humidity makes my hair too big to fit in my cubicle, I fondly recall my wonderful summer in Spain. When funds got low, Dani and I would scamper over to a corner bar and order up a pitcher of sangria and a plate of patatas bravas. These golden nuggets are the quintessential tapa of Madrid. Cheap and delicious, they bring me back to one of the best times of my life. They are basically fried potato chunks topped with a simple spiced tomato sauce...what's not to love? I made them last night for my two favorite DC ladies and for just a second, Corcoran Street could have been Plaza Mayor.
Patatas BravasIngredients:
5-6 medium sized potatoes
1/2 Olive oil (for frying)
Coarse Salt
Bravas Sauce:
1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
cayenne pepper (to taste)
1 Tablespoon water
1 Tablespoon sherry (or white) vinegar
1 Tablespoon parsley

1. Peel potatoes and chop them into bite-sized chunks.
2. Put them in a microwave safe bowl and cover with water.
3. Add 1 Tablespoon salt to the water to flavor the potatoes and microwave on high for 4-5 minutes. This will make them tender on the inside and they'll cook much faster.
4. Dry the potatoes on a paper towel before frying. This helps brown evenly.
5. Fry the potatoes on medium high heat in an inch of oil (amount will vary depending on your pan) for 8-10 minutes until they are crispy.
6. Remove them from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt while they are still piping hot.
7. To make the bravas sauce, sauté chopped onion, garlic, and tomatoes in olive oil for 3-4 minutes until tender.
8. Add cumin, paprika, cayenne, sugar, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Sauté for another minute or 2.
9. Add vinegar and water and let this cook down for 3-4 minutes.
10. Blend this mixture in a blender, food processor, or (my favorite) magic bullet until smooth.
11. Pour some of the bravas sauce over the potatoes and leave the rest for dunking.
12. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley and enjoy.
I was very busy this weekend at home in Jersey and I got to visit the most beautiful baby in the world who just happens to be my little cousin, Jane. I am a huge fan of the yellow hair bow and pinchable cheeks.


  1. Maybe it was momentarily Plaza Mayor but I would say Corcoran St is always the Calle Mayor. I had a few bites of the straggling potatoes and grew jealous. I feel like I always toss potatoes in a pan and see what happens, but they aren't crispy outside, tender inside. Now I know why. I've got to microwave them first. And how easy is that? By the by, this simple tomato puree sauce is delicious and would also be a treat on top of garlic bread.

  2. at first i thought the baby was an ingredient.