Friday, November 30, 2012

Patatas Bravas – Fierce Up Your Fries

I always thought Patatas Bravas meant “brave potatoes,” which seemed a little strange since what was supposed to be so brave about them? Amazingly delicious, yes, but valiant, fearless or courageous? I don’t think so. Well, apparently my translation skills were lacking, and come to find out it actually means “fierce.” Now that makes sense.

As advertised, these are fiercely textured, fiercely flavored, fiercely presented, and fiercely enjoyed. How fierce is really up to you and your inner Spaniard. There are as many patatas bravas recipes as homes in Spain, and this is nothing more than my latest rendition. 

As long as you boil them first, fry crisp, and season earnestly, the rest is open to wild experimentation. I’ve used all sort of blanching liquids, spice blends, and sauces, and never been disappointed.

My control around food is generally decent, but I am no match for a plate of these. Once you start with the toothpick, you’ll be impaling and eating potatoes until they’re gone. If you are making these for a group, just do in batches and keep warm in the oven until you have enough. Just don’t salt until the last second, or they can get soggy. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 4 portions:
2 pounds russet potatoes
For the boiling liquid:
2 quarts cold water
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
2 bay leaves

For the sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
garlic to taste
pinch of salt
1 tsp tomato paste
1-2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp chipotle powder
cayenne to taste

For the spice blend (makes lots extra):
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chipotle powder
chopped parsley

View the complete recipe


paula o said...

Chef John I am addicted to your blog! I am committed to watching EVERY video. They are informative & fun! I'll let you know hen I've finished watching them all! Is a cookbook coming? I hope so.
Please consider doing red beans & rice. You're prime rib is killer.
Your fan, paula

Estoy_Listo said...

Chef John,

Those looked great. But I'm confused. At times you were cooking potatoes, and at other times you were cooking potatas.

Which is it?

Luatica said...

I'm Spanish and I approve of this recipe.

Unknown said...

These lil' taters look delicious. I'm liking the sauce ingredients...seems like a grown up version of the fry sauce I used to get at a local drive-in. Fond memories!!

Cold.dinner said...

Dear Chef John, I just have to say I love your videos and your voice! I love and hate how you include crunching sounds in your videos. I to make some tuna nuggets and it was awesome! It seems I have to try this one out soon. The crunching sounds made me drool on the keyboard.

Carole said...

Hi John

As always, such a mouth-watering video!

I was just wondering, would adding a little white vinegar (maybe half a tablespoon) to the blanching water help prevent the potatoes from getting to tender/mushy?

I'm asking because your video reminds me of this article on "perfect" French fries:

Either way, I love your recipes: in fact, my meat sauce is currently simmering for a nice "Christmas" lasagna tonight while a NY Sunshine cheesecake is cooling in the oven. :D

Thanks a bunch for the cool recipes!

Chef John said...

Never used vinegar, but acid can toughen boiling veggies, so maybe that's it.

Gurdiak Tinar said...

Wow! They look great! By the way "bravas" might also mean angry, I've always thought that was rhe meaning of that particular "brava" but I like fierce too.

Becky said...

Thanks Chef John! I couldn't stop myself, I picked up a couple "putatuhs" tonight to make these with dinner. I had to substitute plain Chili powder for the paprika and chipotle, and I wasn't able to effectively turn garlic into paste, but holy moly I had no clue something so overwhelmingly delicious could come from my hands!

The potatoes were heavenly. I have never made fried potatoes that good before. Foolproof, delicious, amazing as always, Chef!

I'm gushing because my friends and I turned into vicious animals around a carcass with this one, as promised. Trance eating. God in potato form.

Everybody : cook this!

whitterbug23 said...

I studied abroad in Spain for 4 months and patatas bravas are one of my top cravings. These seem like a cross breed of patatas bravas and patatas alioli and everything about it seems so right.

I had planned to go buy the sherry vinegar after work yesterday then come home and make these, but I was unable to find any (not a surprise because the middle of nowhere looks like a vast city compared to my town). I will order some on Amazon, but it will take awhile to get here and I want these so bad. Is there anything I could substitute in the meantime?

Something I found surprising was how not "spicy" this dish was in Spain. Or so I thought. When I think of the word spicy I imagine the food will be hot; probably because most spicy food in the US is like this. Yet in Spain, spicy took on a whole new definition, one much closer to the dictionary definition. These spuds lack searing heat, but they are still spicy in that they are zesty or piquant. Your mouth tingles like it does when you bite into a hot pepper, but you are never hit with the "ohmygod did I just lick a hot stove?!?" feeling.

Natália ATS said...

Hello Chef John!

Tried these potatoes yesterday and it all turned out beautifully! So crispy!

Love your recipes and videos, keep up with the good work!

Regards from Brazil,


edward said...

Hi Chef, these and your sauce look awesome. I'm writing to let you know they remind me of part of a picada - one of my favorite dishes - which I've never seen in the states. It's grilled cubes of filet mignon, sausage, pork loin, fried potatoes and plantains over lettuce, with wedges of tomatoes all eaten with toothpicks. Simple but tasty. It's simple but so fun to eat.

Shanay said...

I really love your blog. You have great recipes that I'm going to cook for my family.

New Follower!!!
Keep up the good work :-)

Heather Chachula said...

Thanks for posting this. :) we are having a christmas party this weekend and about 3/4s of our food that we are serving comes from you. We just needed a spicy aioli sauce abd this will be great. ;)

One for Fun said...

Hi Chef John. You've helped me out of sticky food situations more than once and these wonderfuly Fierce Patatas are just one example! I made them to perfection following your instructions. I can't tell you how much I enjoy ALL your videos and the pleasing way you narrate same. I'd rather watch your videos than the Food Network any day.

Unknown said...

Love the Beyonce ref! lol But the sound of you smacking while eating made me want to go smack the taste out of your mouth! And for added emphasis, I then went to go smack the taste out of my father and my husbands mouth's as well. You will not be alone ;)
I will defiantly make this! It seems simple and I'm in the process of re-seasoning my great^2 grandmother's 60 year old cast iron skillet (my father washed it using soap and water) and this seems like the perfect recipe to help the process along!

Thanks for all your hard work!
(and you still deserve your smack for smacking on camera! lol) :)

Chef John said...

Thank you!!

Lauren said...

If I could speak for the university crowd here- Chef John, you suck dude. I should be studying, but I just can't stop munching these potatoes. Love this.

Unknown said...

These potatoes were SOOOO good. Even though I had tomato paste on hand...I completely spaced out and forgot about it. Instead I used Frank's Buffalo sauce!

We made this (with steak) for a friend. 20 minutes after we were done eating, our friend still hadn't said anything. When I asked him if he was OK he said, "OMG yes....I'm just daydreaming about your potatoes.

He kept asking me about the recipe so I turned him onto your blog.


vamapaull said...

What happened to my previous comment.

Damn google and blogspot!

Anyway, I loved your recipe!
Here you can see a photo with the final results:

Chef John said...

Nice!! Thanks!

Robigo Rantings said...

Hello Chef John!
I made these last night, for a tapas party, and they where a big hit! Eventhough I didn't have the chipotle or smoked paprika, I just used a mix of spicy paprika and chili powder, they still came out great! Thanks for all the fun, yummy and informative recipies on here!

Kind regards,

Unknown said...

Crispy on the outside, super flavor explosion on the inside.

Unknown said...

I ate these with a ribeye and some broccoli. They were delicious. They were better than supermarket frozen potatoes. They were also better than restaurant fries because they were fresh, hot, and not over salted.

whitterbug23 said...

I finally made these the other day and they were absolutely amazing. I wound up not making the sauce because I was missing a few ingredients, but they were so good I didn't mind. As I was waiting for the oil to heat up I was popping the potatoes like they were candy (so flavorful and I am normally not a huge fan of boiled potatoes). I cannot wait to make these again. Thank you Chef John for another delicious recipe.

Omega said...

Hi Chef John,

I made these as a side with sausage and eggs for breakfast, and they were great. I love how you impart knowledge in your videos. Great Job!!!

SteveBass said...

Hi Chef John. Because I lived in Zaragoza, Spain for a couple of years, I just had to indulge myself by watching your version of what was one of my favorite tapas durning my stay there (Kinda wierd because there were so many of them!). The first thing I noticed right off the bat was the the name difference. Back in the day (last century circa 1978..hehe), the local tapas bars referred to them as "Papas Bravas" - No biggie, I' still going to try them anyway! Also, yours were prepared a bit different. In the orginal local recipe, the potatoes were cubed and fried in olive oil as opposed to boiling them first. When they were done, the finished product was topped off with their own homemade mayonnaise along with a dash of salt and a little bit of paprika (sometimes cayenne). It was served with a piece of fresh bread (to die for!)and a cold glass of the local brew on tap. I'm still going to try yours! :-)

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Dang! I'll have ya' know 'dat these 'taters and 'dat tricked-up mayonaise was gOod!

Not fierce, not brave not bold, but simply GOOD!

Even my finicky lady-friend approved of these 'taters! Thanks!

Unknown said...

I have made this recipe for my husband approx 4 times because he loves them so much.

Last night, as we were watching the Bears beat the Packers, my husband was popping these taters in his mouth. He kept saying, “OMG….OMG……OMG…..these are so goooooooood, f’ing Chef John….he knows what’s up……OMG…OMG”.

I think my husband married me because of my cooking. Thanks for helping me get hitched Chef John…much appreciated!

J6U said...

I made these; soooo delicious.

I'm not sure about you, but I kept thinking bravo instead of bravas.

lo2lo2a said...

i did a stupid thing i didnot know how to make the potato dry in air so i wash them and the flavor of the water is gone .. i want to stop them from contiune cooking and think about something what if i didnot cut the potato it will take longer time but maybe then i can take it out of the water when it is 70% done and cut them and let them cool whithout washing them .. what do you think ??

Elholandesdelacasa said...

Looks delicious, but it's not "patatas bravas". You're mixing two recipes.

The cut and fry is correct for patatas bravas. The brava sauce is spicy chili, paprika, onion and garlic, with a pork velouté. The salsa also has some brandy and vinegar.

The aliolí potatoes are cut about the same way, maybe a bit bigger, but they are only cooked. Your aliolí sauce is good for "patatas aliolí". Once the aliolí potatoes are cooled, you mix it with the sauce. It's served cold.

Keep up the good work.

Unknown said...

Oh chef how I love thee, yet how can you say "recipe from Spain" and in the same video mention cumin and chipotle?

Food Mama said...

Chef john no puedo desengancharme de ti. Gracias

Wherestheone said...

Hello Chef John.

I made these yesterday for my wife. She's Catalan and has been eating bravas all her life. She said they were amazing and that we didn't need to go out to find bravas any more. I've been eating bravas for 10 years and I agreed. Massive thumbs up! Thank you!


Unknown said...

Mine came out not crispy.
Maybe they were under cooked in the water. They were air dried.
I will try try again.