Recipe of the month: Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas

Recipe by Kelly Crull

These little potatoes are probably the most traditional tapas food in Spain. They can be found almost everywhere. I usually order a plate of patatas bravas when I’m out for tapas with friends because they’re cheap, they’re vegetarian (there’s usually at least one herbivore in the group), and in a country where most food is cool on the tongue, these little spuds, packed with hot pepper and vinegar, make your mouth zing.

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


500ml (2 cups) olive oil (aceite de oliva)
4 large potatoes (patatas)
Salt to taste (sal)

Salsa Brava:

85ml (1/3 cup) tomate frito (a tomato sauce made from pureed tomatoes, onion and garlic with a little sugar and vinegar).
2 tbsp mayonnaise (mayonesa)
1/2 tbsp white vinegar (vinagre de vino blanco)
1/2 tsp paprika (pimentón dulce)
1/4 tsp ground cumin (cominos)
cayenne pepper (cayena) or Tabasco sauce (salsa picante) to taste


Parboil the potatoes with their skins still intact either on the stove or in the microwave in a covered bowl filled with water. The potatoes are finished boiling when you put a knife in them, and they are still slightly firm. Set the potatoes aside, so they can cool.

In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the salsa brava, adding white vinegar and cayenne pepper until the sauce tastes tangy and spicy. Set the sauce aside.

Drain, peel and cut the potatoes into 3 cm (1 inch) cubes. Deep-fry or sauté in oil at medium heat until golden brown. Remove the potatoes from the oil and pat them dry with a paper towel to remove excess oil.

Put the potatoes on a serving plate, sprinkle them with salt and drizzle them with the bravas sauce. Some prefer to serve the sauce on the side, but traditionally the sauce is drizzled over top.


If you’re not brava enough to try the hot sauce, but you like garlic, you might want to try a popular variation called patatas ali-oli. Mix a crushed garlic clove into some mayonnaise and sprinkle with parsley.

More and more restaurants are beginning to offer alternatives to bravas sauce, some even advertising twenty flavors or more like barbecue sauce or Mexican salsa or cheese. It’s fun to try the different flavors, but in my opinion, the original is still the best.

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