Bravas potatoes are a Spanish classic. They are prepared differently in various regions in Spain, but are always part of a tapas meal. Tapas, which means “to cover,” refers to small plates or appetizers, served hot or cold in Spanish bars where diners are encouraged to socialize and try various foods. Once upon a time in their native Andalusia, sherry drinkers would cover their glasses with pieces of bread or meat in order to keep the flies away—and soon the food became the main event! The word bravas means “fierce” and refers to the heat from the hot pepper sauce added to the recipe.
1 large plum tomato, halved and
2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and
cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) cubes
Pure olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (7 g) smoked paprika
½ cup (115 g) good-quality or
Few dashes hot pepper sauce
1 tablespoon (15 ml) aged
Unrefined sea salt or salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Flat-leaf parsley leaves
Yield: 4 servings
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Roast the tomato halves on a baking
sheet until soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and cool.
Reduce the oven to 375°F (190°C). Place a baking sheet in the oven.
Fill a medium saucepan three-quarters full with water. Add the potato
cubes and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, uncovered, over high heat.
Reduce heat to medium, and cook until just fork-tender, 5 to 10 minutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of oil in a small frying pan over medium heat.
Add the garlic and cook until it releases its aroma, about 3 minutes. Add
the paprika and cook for 30 seconds. Let cool slightly.
Combine the garlic and oil mixture, mayonnaise, tomato halves, hot
pepper sauce, and vinegar in a food processor and process until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.
Heat 2 inches (5 cm) of pure olive oil in a large high-sided, heavy-
bottomed skillet until it begins to shimmer, or reaches 300°F (150°C).
Carefully lower in half of the potatoes, and cook until golden brown on
Remove the potatoes to a paper towel–lined plate for a moment to
drain the excess oil, and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with the
remaining potatoes. Carefully remove the hot baking sheet from the oven,
put the potatoes on the pan in an even layer and bake until crisp, about
Taste, and adjust seasonings if necessary. Transfer to a platter and garnish
with a drizzle of the aioli and the parsley leaves. Serve hot.
Use the Andalusians as inspiration when planning meals: A few small
plates of exquisitely prepared vegetables, nuts, cheeses, and olives
make a delicious, nutritiously valuable, and delicious deviation from the
standard dinner plate.