Neither Poverty Nor Riches

Give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me.

A Personal Recipe Archive

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Vegetarian Tapas, Part I

Recipe Name: Patatas Bravas

Notes: I must admit that many of my cooking inspirations arise through my cravings for tastes I've discovered in restaurants. This week I was craving tapas, in the style of Boston's Tapeo or Cambridge's Dali. So I whipped up decent approximations of some of my favorite little dishes. The first, patatas bravas, is a pretty common Spanish dish. My sauce is a little more "brava" than average, I think, but the spices, etc. can be adjusted to taste.

Servings: 4

  • 5 or 6 medium sized potatoes of any variety that has gold, waxy skin instead of brown, papery skin
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (more to taste if you like a tangy sauce)
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more to taste if you like a hotter sauce)

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil while you wash the potatoes. Then add the potatoes, whole and unpeeled, to the boiling water. Boil the potatoes for about 10 to 15 minutes, until they are still slightly firm, and then rinse them once in cold water.

While the potatoes are cooling, mix the tomato sauce, mayonnaise, vinegar, paprika, cumin, and cayenne in a small bowl. Take a taste and add more vinegar or cayenne to your taste (I like a lot of both). Voila! This is your sauce.

Cut the cooled potatoes into one inch cubes. I usually try to make my potato bits one inch maximum - I like the smaller pieces better! Heat the oil over a medium flame (or medium heat on an electric stove) in a medium-sized pan, and add the garlic. Then saute the potatoes in the oil until they are golden-brown. In my experience there is a fine line between golden brown and cooked all the way through and dark brown and burnt-tasting, so keep an eye on them while they cook. When they are done cooking, remove them from the oily pan and place them on a papertowel-lined plate for a while to soak some of the oil out of them. You can sprinkle them with salt at this point, if you like.

Another, healthier way to cook the potatoes is to rub them with the olive oil and garlic, and roast them on a jellyroll pan in the oven at 400 or 425 degrees for about 20 minutes.

When you're ready to eat, put the potatoes on a plate and drizzle them with the sauce.


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