Patatas Bravas (or Papas Bravas) are a popular Spanish Appetizer. The name translates literally to “spicy potatoes” and once we discovered them, we’re always on the hunt for the perfect “Bravas” whenever we’re traveling through Spain.
These crispy little potato bites come either smothered in a sauce, which can be a spicy tomato sauce or more of a mayonnaise. Our favorite version, however, is made with a garlic lemon aioli. The spiciness comes from hot smoked paprika, which is sprinkled liberally on the potatoes themselves.
This version of Patatas Bravas also involves a 2-stage cooking method. The potatoes are first cut into cubes and parboiled with a little vinegar until tender.
The vinegar helps to create a crust around the outside of the potato so they will stay tender on the inside, crispy on the outside. This first step can be done the day before.
The potatoes are finished by frying them in oil until browned, tossed in a seasoning mix and then topped with garlic aioli sauce.
Brava are a fun appetizer on their own, but are also a perfect additional to a complete Spanish Tapas menu.
The most fun thing about eating in a Tapas Bar is being able to pick out a small dish and try a number of things together with a group of friends.
The little appetizers can be as simple as a dish of crackers or as elaborate as a a dish of seafood paella or slow cooked meat served over toasted bread or a thick slice of potato.
We’ve put together a collection of our favorite Spanish Tapas Recipes, which, in our opinion, should always include Patatas Brava along with some good Spanish Cheese, Serrano Ham and a glass of Sangria!
- 6 medium size white potatoes, such as russets or Yukon gold.
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) white vinegar
- 2 teaspoons (11 g) salt
- 3 tablespoons (45 ml) extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons (4.6 g) hot smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon (.8 g) garlic powder
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
Wash and peel the potatoes. Cut into 3/4 inch to 1 inch (1.9 cm to 2.5 cm) cubes. It's important to make sure that the cubes are equal in size for even cooking.
Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. The potatoes should be completely covered and submerged by about 2 inches (5 cm).
Add 2 teaspoons (11.4 g) of salt, 1 teaspoon (2.3 g) of hot smoked paprika and the white vinegar to the water.
Place on the stove over high heat until the water begins to boil. Reduce to a simmer. Check the potatoes for doneness after about 5 - 6 minutes. They should allow a knife to pierce through to the center of the potato but still have just a little firmness. You want the potatoes to be able to hold their form and not fall apart when fried.
When done, add the potatoes to a water bath to stop the cooking process. When completely cool, allow the potatoes to sit in a colander until most of the moisture has drained off.
Add the olive oil to a heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is heated, add a layer of potatoes to the skillet. Do not overcrowd and cook in batches if necessary.
Allow the potatoes to brown (about 7 minutes per side). Turning them too much will make it more difficult for them to brown and develop a crisp coating on the outside. Potatoes should be crispy brown on 2 sides.
Remove the potatoes from the pan when crispy and toss with the rest of the hot smoked paprika and the garlic powder. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with aioli sauce (recipe below) on top or on the side.
- 3/4 cup (172 g) mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh lemon juice,
- 3 cloves of garlic grated on a microplane.
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) extra-virgin olive oil.
- salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Whisk together garlic, mayonnaise and lemon juice
After they are fully combined, add in the olive oil slowly, while continuously whisking the sauce.
Add salt and pepper to taste.