Crispy potatoes meet umami-rich tomato sauce with just the right smack of chile. No wonder patatas bravas are the tapas everyone loves. Patatas bravas is a classic Catalan dish and the quintessential bar snack of Spain. But it’s not brave. In Spain, brava means fierce or fiery.
The potatoes, lightly boiled and then roasted, are crispy outside, floury and tender inside, but it’s the umami, peppery tomato sauce they’re served with that makes them brava.
You can leave the sauce chunky or blend it up a bit if you’d prefer a smoother texture.
Serve as an appetizer along with other vegan tapas, such as Ellen’s Romesco Sauce, a bracing way to amp up your vegetables. You can also use patatas bravas as a delicious side dish.
Contributed by Ellen Kanner, who you’ll find at Soulful Vegan Writer. See lots more about Ellen following the recipe box.
Patatas Bravas (Fiery Potatoes, a Classic Spanish Tapa)
Patatas bravas is a classic Catalan dish and the quintessential bar snack of Spain.
- 1 pound potatoes, cut into 2-inch bites or wedges (or new potatoes, halved)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Sea salt
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 14-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon paprika (sweet, hot, or smoked)
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
- Chopped fresh parsley and/or scallions for topping
- For the potatoes: Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and cook just until you can pierce them with a fork, about 8 minutes. They’ll continue to cook in the oven, so don’t overcook.
- Preheat the oven to 400º F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or a Silpat.
- Drain the potatoes well, and blot dry. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season generously with sea salt.
- Roast the potatoes in the oven for about 10 minutes. Give them a stir or a flip and continue roasting for another 10 to 15 minutes, until golden and crispy outside, tender inside.
- For the spicy tomato sauce: Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil starts to shimmer, add the diced onion and minced garlic. Stir to coat in oil. Reduce heat to medium and sauté for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes, paprika and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the flavors blend. If you'd like a smoother sauce, transfer to a food processor or blender. Pulse on and off, leaving a little texture. Transfer to a small serving bowl.
- Tip the potatoes into a shallow serving bowl and toss with the remaining olive oil. Drizzle some of the sauce over the top. Use the rest of the sauce for dipping.
Ellen Kanner is the soulful vegan award-winning author of Feeding the Hungry Ghost: Life, Faith and What to Eat for Dinner (VegNews’ Book of the Year, PETA’s debut Book of the Month Club pick), the e-book, Beans: A Handful of Magic. She has been writing about the intersection of food, wellness and sustainability for over 20 years for outlets including HuffPo, Civil Eats, Saveur, EatingWell, VegNews, the Miami Herald, and Whole Foods Magazine.
She’s conducted conscious cooking and mindful eating workshops at venues including Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Books & Books, MindBody Expo, Miami Beach Botanical Garden, and Healthy Foods Expo Florida. Ellen has been featured in outlets including VegNews, MindBody Green, Psychology Today, Thrive, the Miami Herald and Veganuary.
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Your recipe said chop potatoes, any reason they’re not chopped in the picture? They look massive
Dean, originally the recipe showed new potatoes left whole, and yes, it did look a bit confusing. The photos now show a more traditional view of Patatas Bravas.
This is appealing, but I would not boil (or part-boil) the potatoes. Instead, I would bake them whole in the microwave for half or maybe 2/3 the normal cook time (see note*). Then cut the half-baked spud however you want and continue to the roasting part. I do something like this when I make poutine, but I prefer to fry not roast. Frying gives me better control of the outcome and uses less energy, I think. * Microwave-bake potato: Normal cook time in my microwave at 700w is about 6min for one med-large spud, or about 8min for 3 of them together. Turn them every 2 minutes. Handle with care, as they will be hot!