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PATATAS BRAVAS (AKA SPANISH POUTINE)

Crispy potatoes, garlicky mayo and smoked paprika


While we wait for spring to poke through with green, and we endure our still unpredictable temperatures, we can imagine an evening in Spain, on a terrace, enjoying tapas.  Seems like the thing to do right now. Our little dish called "patatas bravas" is a simple dish, a social dish. It's native to Spain and one that should be on your almost-spring menu, especially now that our finest new harvest Melgajero olive oils are in. There are three main elements in Spanish patatas bravas: bite-size pieces of potatoes, a spicy tomato sauce and a creamy aioli. So get going and try this perfect Spanish version of our own glorious French Canadian poutine! And get ready for spring!!!

INGREDIENTS:
3 large baking (russet) potatoes
1/2 cup Melgarejo Hojiblanca olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 red chili pepper, finely chopped with seeds removed
3/4 cup crushed canned tomatoes
2 tbsp Sherry Reserva red wine vinegar
1-2 tsp hot smoked paprika
1 tsp salt

"AIOLI" (Garlic Mayo) INGREDIENTS:
2 egg yolks
1 tsp Sherry Reserva red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Melgarejo Picual olive oil

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Peel potatoes and cut into uniform 1-inch pieces. Place potatoes in boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and place on paper towels to remove all traces of moisture. Return to pot and place on low heat to dry out further.  Sprinkle evenly with 1-1/2 tsp Kosher salt. Toss gently. Place potatoes on baking sheet and drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil, gently toss to coat. Place in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, turning once until the potatoes are browned on all sides. While the potatoes are roasting place remaining 1/4 cup olive oil in a saute pan on medium heat. Add onion, garlic and chili, then saute for 2 minutes. Add salt to allow mixture to sweat and continue to cook for another 3 minutes until tender and golden brown but not burnt. Add the Sherry vinegar, deglazing the pan. Sprinkle in paprika, then add crushed tomatoes. Stirring constantly, turn heat down to low. Allow the sauce to reduce for 10 minutes until thick. Place potatoes in a large serving bowl. Top with sauce and Aioli (see recipe below). 
OPTION: Blend spicy tomato Sauce with aioli, then top potatoes with mixture.

DIRECTIONS (AIOLI):
Place egg yolks in large bowl and whisk in the Sherry vinegar. Separately, using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic and the salt together to form a paste, ensuring the garlic is totally pulverized and NO small chunks are left. You can also use a microplane. Scrape the garlic paste into the egg yolks and whisk until fully combined. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil a few drops at a time while whisking constantly to ensure the oil emulsifies with the garlic and egg yolks. Increase the speed at which you're adding the oil until it reaches a fine drizzle. Continue to whisk and drizzle until the mixture is light, fluffy, and thickened. Place a dollop of aioli on top of spicy tomato sauce or blend with sauce then top potatoes with mixture.