Author Notes: This summer I went to Barcelona for a week. The food was, of course, phenomenal. I spent a lot of time at tapas bars, where patatas bravas are the undisputed star--crispy spiced potato chunks, topped with aioli. I'm not huge into mayonnaise, so when I came home, I decided to try making my own variation, topped with another classic Spanish sauce: romesco. It's a divine pairing--crunchy, creamy, smoky, tangy, nutty and bright--and works beautifully as an appetizer, tapa or side dish. - ieatthepeach
For the potatoes
- 1 pound Yukon Gold or other all-purpose potatoes
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika (pimenton), or to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil for pan-frying
For the sauce
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes
- 1 cup whole peeled almonds, hazelnuts, or a combination
- 6 roasted jarred piquillo peppers
- 2 tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
- 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Note: This recipe makes more sauce than you need for the potatoes. The extra will keep, covered, in the fridge for at least a week--it gets better as it sits.
- Put the potatoes in a large pot, and cover with an inch of water. Bring to a boil, salt the water generously, and simmer just until the potatoes are easily pierced with a sharp knife, 30-35 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and let them cool until they're able to be handled. Cut the cooled potatoes into bite-size chunks, and toss with smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
- In a large skillet, pan-fry the potato chunks in batches over medium-high heat, using about a tablespoon of olive oil per batch. When they're golden and crisp, remove from the pan and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, heat a dry, empty frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the tomatoes and nuts for 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally and watching vigilantly. When the tomatoes have started to split and the nuts are fragrant, remove from heat and let cool.
- Combine all the sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Puree until you get a thick, bright red-orange sauce with tiny flecks of nuts. If needed, add more oil to get the right consistency.
- If you have time, refrigerate the sauce for at least a couple hours, then bring it back to room temp before serving. Dollop over the potatoes, and serve.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Root Vegetable Side