Anyone who followed me while I was in Spain knows I developed a deep obsession with Patatas Bravas during that trip. It’s one of Spain’s classic dishes, and is a comfort food common as a side dish or, of course, tapas. It is truly a heavenly fried potato dish! I love a fried potato in any form, and would argue that there’s simply nothing more delicious.
Patatas Bravas are even better than your average fried potato for a few important reasons. First, they’re fried in olive oil, which gives them extra crunch thanks to olive oil’s lower smoke point, but also more flavor thanks to the olive’s fruity, briney notes. Next, they’re topped with not one, but two sauces! The bravas sauce has many variations across Spain, but most have a few key ingredients in common. It’s a heavily spiced sauce, packed with paprika and thickened with cornstarch. Spain is known for its pimentón, their famous paprika, and if you want your bravas sauce to be truly authentic, this ingredient is a must. The sauce comes together quickly, but the blend of sweet and hot paprikas along with the cayenne ensure it’s packed with flavor. This sauce is balanced perfectly with an extra garlicky aioli, and when both are drizzled over, hot, freshly fried potatoes, it’s sublime. This recipe will hold me over until I can get back to Spain again, and if you’ve never been, or are missing this dish like I am, I know this recipe will hit the spot for you, too!
A spice that is very prevalent in Spanish cuisine, and is an essential ingredient in patatas bravas. There are a few varieties of pimentón, including dulce (sweet), agridulce (moderately hot paprika) and picante (hot paprika). I used two kinds in this recipe–pimentón dulce and pimentón picante, to give it the ultimate balance.
2. Make Ahead
Every single element of this dish can be made hours or even a day ahead except for the frying! Still, you can have everything done, fry off the potatoes when you’re ready to serve them, and have patatas bravas in your belly in less than 30 minutes.
3. Olive Oil Frying
You’ll see that I’ve noted to use medium heat when frying with olive oil, and to not exceed an oil temperature of 350°F. That’s because olive oil has a lower smoke point than oils that are typically used for frying, meaning that it will smoke and burn your food more quickly and easily. Be sure to use moderate heat and monitor your oil temperature carefully!