Ladies and gentlemen, here is one of Spain’s most definitive tapas. Bravas—fierce—refers to the spicy tomato sauce, for which there are as many recipes as there are tapas bar owners. My version was inspired by the smooth, smoky, pimentón-tinged sauce at Las Bravas, a bar that’s been doing a booming patatas bravas business in Madrid for over a century. In the Catalan manner, I drizzle my bravas with both the tomato sauce and garlicky allioli mayonnaise, which makes the dish insanely delicious. At good bars, the cubed potatoes are deep-fried twice, first in coolish oil and then in very hot oil to crisp them. I present an easier option, using small red potatoes that are parboiled, cut into quarters, and crisped in the oven. Serve them skewered on toothpicks.
- Yield: 6 Servings
- 16 small red potatoes (1½ to 2 inches in diameter)
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Coarse salt (kosher or sea)
- Spicy Tomato Sauce
- ¼ Cup any Allioli, thinned with 1 to 2 tablespoons water
- Place the potatoes in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover by 2 inches, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the potatoes, partially covered, until they are completely tender when pierced with a skewer, about 20 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain and let cool. When just cool enough to handle, cut them into quarters.
- Preheat the oven to 475°F.
- Place the quartered potatoes, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and some salt in a bowl and toss to coat evenly, adding more oil, if needed. Be careful not to crush the potatoes. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and bake, turning once, until crisp and browned, about 45 minutes.
- Arrange the potatoes on a serving platter and generously drizzle Spicy Tomato Sauce and allioli over them.