This week it was my turn to select our ingredient. I chose potatoes mostly because I have wanted to make one of my favorite Spanish tapas: patatas bravas. Bravas mean fierce and the adjective is used in reference to the spiciness of the sauce. I've eaten patatas bravas many times, at friend's homes and in bars in Spain but have never made them.
A couple of years ago my brother Rafi sent me a beautiful basket from La Tienda with some delicious Spanish products. Included in the basket were a beautiful ceramic serving dish and a Tapas cookbook, Tapas: the little dishes of Spain. The recipe below comes from this cookbook.
There are many ways to make this savory appetizer and in two other Spanish cookbooks that I have, the recipe calls for the potatoes to be boiled with the skin on, then peeled and cubed. Frying or sautéing the potatoes is another option but I think I like roasting them the best. The potatoes turned out crispy and golden without being too oily.
Patatas Bravas | Potatoes with Piquant Tomato and Alioli
adapted from a recipe in Tapas: the little dishes of Spain.
2 medium-large potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes
Piquant Tomato Sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp parsley, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
Dash of Tabasco
1 bay leaf
1/8 tsp sugar
1 cup mayonnaise
4 or more cloves garlic, mashed to a paste or put through a garlic press.
In a large bowl, toss the potatoes in olive oil until they are well covered. Sprinkle with salt and place the potatoes into a large, shallow baking dish that has been lined with parchment. Bake at 375F for about 45 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Halfway through baking, turn the potatoes with a spatula to insure even browning.
Meanwhile, start the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is wilted. Add the tomatoes and sauté for a few minutes. Stir in the rest of the ingredients, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain the sauce. The sauce should not be too thick - if necessary, thin with water.
Combine the mayonnaise and garlic.
To serve, arrange the potatoes on a dish and spoon several tablespoons of the sauce, and top with a few tablespoons of the alioli sauce.