I’ve just come back from Barcelona where we ate a lot of patatas bravas in various different guises – and all seriously good!
We discovered this medieval, atmospheric tapas bar in the heart of the old Jewish quarter, which deserves a special mention – La Alcoba Azul (the blue bedroom). They serve some amazing patatas bravas – although looking nothing like you might expect.
The potatoes were still whole, just finely sliced through almost to the bottom, so that you could cut them off in neat little slivers. One potato came covered in the bravas paprika – spiked sauce and the other in garlicky, creamy aioli.
So, with a hankering for patatas and a hit of paprika smacked bravas, I recreated these simple, travel friendly versions from La Alcoba Azul, which are perfect for lunch. They only need a green salad to accompany them; or some green beans – which do well in the microwave.
It needs to be mentioned that the sweet smoked paprika is the key ingredient in the bravas sauce – without it, you may as well not bother. Aioli is garlic mayonnaise, and if you don’t want the faff of making this from scratch, you can just combine greek yoghurt with some fresh garlic and olive oil to give the impression of aioli, but without the calories.
Ingredients (makes 3 portions):
6 waxy medium sized potatoes (I used Vivaldi)
For the bravas sauce:
3 cloves garlic
1 small onion
1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1 tsp hot paprika or cayenne pepper
1 tsp salt
1 tsp flour
1 tsp vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
For the aioli:
1 clove garlic
What To Do:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 210C. Place the potatoes on a wooden spoon to slice (this makes it easier and stops them rolling around). Make fine slices all along each potato almost to the bottom. Drizzle each with a little oil and sprinkle over some salt. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes on the top shelf, or until the skin is crisp and charred slightly.
2. Whilst they are cooking, make the bravas sauce: Chop the onion and garlic and sauté in oil for a few minutes. Add the sweet paprika, hot paprika and salt and stir. Then add the tomato passata, stir for another few minutes while on the heat.
3. Pour the sauce into a blender with the flour, vinegar and a little water to loosen it. Blitz until smooth. You may want to add more water – the consistency should be like ketchup.
4. Make the aioli: Crush a garlic clove and add it to the greek yoghurt and some olive oil. Mix well.
5. When the potatoes are done, spoon over the bravas sauce, followed by the aioli and enjoy. To take into work, keep the aioli in a separate pot, and add this after you’ve microwaved the potato with bravas sauce.