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
Yukon Gold or other all-purpose potatoes
smoked paprika (pimenton), or to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for pan-frying
For the sauce
whole peeled almonds, hazelnuts, or a combination
roasted jarred piquillo peppers
tbsp lemon juice, or to taste
olive oil, plus more as needed
In This Recipe
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.