These patatas bravas are crispy even though they are baked not fried! Topped with a delicious smoky salsa brava and garlic aioli, they are totally addictive!
Happy Friday! If you read this blog, you know that around here Friday = drinks and appetizers, and in Spain we call that TAPAS. I already promised you more tapas recipes last week when I shared my ham croquettes. As I told you then, starting to think about making ONE Spanish recipe merged into several. I just couldn’t stop myself, I wanted, NO, I NEEDED to make all the Spanish food. Actually as soon as I finish writing this I am off to the kitchen to work on another Spanish recipe that I can’t wait to share with you.
As I mentioned before, I spent a summer in Spain on a study abroad trip. To be honest, I don’t remember ever eating patatas bravas there, not even once. How is this possible? Well, two things. It was a few (…ahem, we don’t need to talk about exactly how many) years ago, so there is a chance I forgot. Also the food in Spain is very regional, so a dish that is very popular in one area might not be in another. Either way, I don’t remember ever trying patatas bravas until they became popular in the United States in the last few years. There are several hot Portland restaurants that serve versions of patatas bravas and they are always delicious.
Patatas Bravas are crispy, golden potatoes topped with a bold, spicy red sauce and a creamy garlic aioli.
Patatas Bravas in the Oven
When I decided to make them at home, I wanted to do it without frying them. Of course, you could fry them, but I try to avoid it when possible (except with the croquettes, there is just no way around that one). I used a trick to make these potatoes really crispy even though they are baked – are you ready for it? Baking soda! It does amazing things. First you give the potatoes a quick par boil in water with baking soda, then you bake them. The baking soda breaks down the cells of the potato which creates a ton of surface area, so they almost make their own coating that gets super crispy in the oven. Thank you America’s Test Kitchen for that little gem.
What is Brava Sauce?
The Brava Sauce (salsa brava) is a spicy tomato sauce so easy to make, very similar to my easy 20 minute marinara, except that is has a star ingredient – smoked spanish paprika! Oh you guys, I am IN LOVE with smoked paprika right now, I want to put it in everything. I even used it in a cocktail recently (bear with me, that one is coming soon probably). That plus some heat from cayenne pepper and hot sauce make this a salsa BRAVA.
Of course the last, and crucial component is the garlic aioli. Some recipes actually just call for mayonnaise, but I really like the extra punch of flavor from the garlic. I tried and tried to make a homemade aioli that I was happy with, and although I made some that were OK, I wasn’t totally happy with them. I’m still working on the perfect aioli, so I ended up just taking a slight shortcut and mixing some garlic and lemon juice into some good quality mayonnaise. It was really the best solution, it tasted great and was really simple to make.
Put it all together and you have crispy potatoes, bold salsa brava and creamy garlic aioli all together in a bowl that will disappear before your eyes. Serve this with a few other small plates and some wine and you have yourself a tapas party. Or just make the patatas bravas and throw an egg on top, and you have breakfast. You can’t go wrong, really.
More recipes for your tapas party…
Patatas Bravas Ingredients
- 2 and 1/2 lbs yukon gold potatoes cut into a 3/4 inch dice
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- chopped parsley for garnish, optional
For Salsa Brava
For Garlic Aioli
- 1/4 cup good quality mayonnaise
- 1 garlic clove grated or pressed
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
For the potatoes
Place a large baking sheet in cold oven and preheat oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.*
- Add baking soda and salt to a pot of water and bring to a boil. When boiling, add potatoes, cover, and bring back to boil. As soon as water is boiling, set a timer for 1 minute. After potatoes have been boiling for one minute, drain in a colander.
- Return potatoes to pot and stir for 30 seconds, then add 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper, stir to make sure potatoes are fully coated.
- Carefully remove hot baking sheet from oven and pour potatoes onto the hot baking sheet, arranging them in a single layer.
- Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove sheet from oven and use a spatula to flip the potatoes, then return to the oven for another 15-25 minutes, or until potatoes are golden and crispy.
For the Salsa Brava
- Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
- Add onion and saute until soft and golden, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add tomatoes, salt, paprika, cayenne pepper and hot sauce, stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce heat and allow to simmer on low for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.
- If you want, you can leave the sauce chunky, or if you would like it smooth as I did, transfer to a food processor to puree. Allow sauce to cool a bit before pulsing in food processor.
For Garlic Aioli
- Add mayonnaise, lemon juice and garlic to a bowl and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper if desired.
- You can keep the sauces on the side or drizzle salsa brava and garlic aioli over potatoes and serve with more of each sauce on the side for dipping. Top with fresh chopped parsley for garnish if desired.
*cooking times may vary depending on your oven and equipment. If you use a darker baking sheet, the cooking time will be shorter. Use your best judgment and keep an eye on them to avoid burning.
If you make this recipe don’t forget to tag it @foxandbriar and #foxandbriar on instagram and facebook! I really love to see what you make and you may be featured in our weekly Reader Feature!