This recipe is inspired by one of the most classic Spanish tapas; Patatas Bravas. In this version the potatoes are parboiled, then roasted until deeply golden brown to achieve that perfect bite of crisp outer crust with creamy potato interior. For dipping – a generous dollop of smokey tomato aioli!
Note to readers: this post was recently updated with (much needed) new photos and additional information. The actual recipe itself has not changed.
A perfect drinking food, meant to be shared, Patatas Bravas is the quintessential “tapa” or appetizer in Spain. Bite-sized cubed potatoes are fried then topped with two different sauces; a spicy salsa bravas, made with garlic, dried chilis, tomato paste and vinegar, as well as a creamy garlic aioli. Like French fries in America, versions of patatas bravas can be found on bars menus throughout Spain.
Rather than frying the potatoes I’ve borrowed the English Roast Potato approach and instead boil, then roast them until crispy. I love the crispy crackly shell and creamy interior thats achieved from this cooking method. I’m also just generally averse to deep-frying in my small apartment kitchen so this is an easy work around.
I combine the salsa brava and aioli (in this case mayo) into one luscious, creamy sauce for dipping– or drenching! Made with smoked paprika, tomato paste, sherry vinegar and a generous amount of garlic this tangy, smokey sauce is versatile and highly addicting!
Ingredients You’ll Need:
To make this recipe you’ll need: small yellow potatoes like Yukon golds, olive oil, mayonnaise, garlic, tomato paste, smoked paprika, sherry vinegar and (optional) cayenne pepper or hot sauce.
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Boil the Potatoes
Boiling the potatoes prior to roasting creates a potato with a creamy soft center and crispy outer layer. Boil in heavily salted water until a knife meets little resistance when inserted into a potato chunk, about 10 minutes.
Step 2. Roast the Potatoes
Transfer the potatoes to a baking dish and pour the olive oil overtop as well as a good pinch of salt. Toss to coat then bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally, between 35-45 minutes.
Step 3. Make the Aioli
Whisk together the aioli ingredients in a small bowl until evenly combined. Taste and season with additional salt or vinegar as needed. The aioli can be made up to three days in advance.
Note: True, Spanish “allioli” is an emulsion of garlic, olive oil and salt. While it may look and taste similarly to egg-based aioli they are technically different. If you’d like to try and make your own authentic allioli check out: Traditional Catalan Garlic and Oil Sauce (Allioli a la Catalana).
Serve the aioli on the side for dipping or drizzled over top!
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Patatas Bravas with Smokey Tomato Aioli
- 2 lbs small yukon gold potatoes sliced in half
- 1/2 c olive oil
Smokey Tomato Aioli:
- 1 c mayo
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cloves garlic grated
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper or hot sauce optional
- 1 tsp salt
- Place the potatoes in a medium-sized pot and cover with water and a generous pinch of salt. Bring the water to a simmer and cook the potatoes until a knife meets little resistance when inserted into the center, about 10 minutes. Drain and let stand in a colander for a few minutes to let as much moisture drain as possible.
- Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. Spread the steamed potatoes out over a baking tray and toss with the olive oil and another generous sprinkle of salt. Make sure the potatoes are not crowded on the baking tray and there is plenty of space in between each one. If necessary use two sheet trays.
- Bake the potatoes for 20 minutes undisturbed then use a spatula to flip and release any stuck potatoes, shake the pan and turn potatoes to ensure even browning on all sides. Continue roasting until potatoes are deeply golden brown and crisp all over, turning and shaking them a few times during cooking, about 30-40 more minutes.
- While the potatoes are roasting make the aioli. Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Transfer the roasted potatoes to a large plate or platter. Top with the smokey tomato aioli and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. Enjoy immediately!
- Potatoes: Yukon Golds’ buttery texture and subtle creaminess makes it the *perfect* potato for roasting. To ensure even cooking, choose potatoes that are roughly all the same size.
- Smoked Paprika: Sweet, Hungarian paprika can be substituted for smoked.
- Mayo: Homemade, store-bought, vegan/plant-based will all work.
- Leftover potatoes can be stored covered, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in a preheated 350 F oven for 5-10 minutes. Aioli will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to a week.