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Posts tagged ‘tapas’

Patatas Bravas


Sonal from Simply Vegetarian777 has a very active facebook following and sometimes she will tag us with a challenge. The other day I received notification that Sonal had done just that.  She asked everyone to create or post a recipe using potatoes as an appetizer or side, no curries, it must be vegetarian and the potatoes should be in pieces not mashed or smashed. I immediately thought of one of my favorite potato dishes when I go for Tapas,  Patatas Bravas, crispy pieces of potato, deep fried and dipped in a spicy aioli. It really doesn’t get better than this. I found this recipe on America’s Test Kitchen and have to say their recipes are almost always spot on. I love the simple aioli using already prepared mayonnaise. I cut the recipe in half, it’s just me and I don’t need all of those potatoes.


Patatas Bravas

The sauce

2 tsp neutral oil like vegetable or grapeseed

1 tsp garlic smashed to a paste (I used 1 large clove)

1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika

1/4 tsp kosher salt

pinch of cayenne pepper

2 tbs tomato paste

1/4 cup water

2 tsp sherry vinegar

2 generous tbs mayonaise

Heat oil in small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the garlic. paprika, salt and cayenne and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste and cook another 30 seconds. Add water and whisk on high heat until it comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 4-5 minutes or until it is slightly thickened. Pour sauce into a bowl, add vinegar and let cool completely. When cooled whisk in the mayonaise. Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours, bring to room temperature before serving.


The potatoes

1 1/2 lbs russet or yukon gold potatoes cut into 1 inch cubes.

1/4 tsp baking soda

Kosher salt

oil to fry

Bring large pot of water to a rolling boil, add the potatoes and baking soda. When they start boiling again cook for 1 minute. Drain the potatoes.

Return potatoes to the pan and cook over low heat shaking occasionally for another minute or until the water has evaporated. Remove from heat and add about 3/4 tsp of salt, stir with a rubber spatula until the potatoes are coated with a thick starchy paste. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet to cool, they can stand at room temperature up to 2 hours.

Heat about 2 1/2 cups of oil in large dutch oven to 375 degree’s. Add all the potatoes, they should be submerged in the oil. Cook stirring occasionally with a slotted spoon or spyder until golden brown and crispy, approximately 20-25 minutes.

Transfer potatoes to a paper towel lined wire rack on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. To serve spoon some sauce on the bottom of a platter. Arrange the potatoes on top and serve the remaining sauce on the side.



Small Plates- Tapas

Cheese, wine and bread

Cheese, wine,olives and bread

Tapas anyone?

Tapas anyone?

I was recently inspired to make tapas after reading a post on the very beautiful blog Laura’s Mess. She and friends/fellow bloggers get together and prepare a feast frequently and it’s like a culinary tour of the world. I decided since I love the food of Spain and I am particularly fond of small portions that I would make tapas. You can eat a variety of foods and variety is the spice of life!!

For this meal I made some of my favorite Spanish dishes, they are simple and very tasty and I find that when you set out platters of a variety of food for friends it’s fun, add some good wine to the mix and it’s a great party. You can also make some of the food in advance. The meatballs and tomato sauce and the polenta keep very well for a day or two, I also boiled the potatoes for the patatas bravas a day ahead and fried them the day of, you can also make that yummy sauce ahead.

I am not going to post recipes for all,most of the recipes are not mine,  but I will provide the link to the recipe if you want to make. I served the polenta with the meatballs and tomato sauce, the grilled merguez goes beautifully with the patatas bravas.  The shrimp, well they are great on their own and don’t forget  the cheese and olives and bread with some good olive oil for dipping. Wash it all down with wine I chose Rioja. Sangria would also be lovely with this!!

Here is the menu:

Patatas Bravas

Albondigas- Spanish meatballs (Recipe calls for pork, I used pork and beef)

Merguez (grilled)

Roasted Tomato Sauce (No recipe needed see below for instructions)

Gambas Al Ajillo- Spanish Garlic Shrimp

Cheesy Manchego Polenta

Assorted cheese. bread, olives

Lots of wine

Oven roasted tomatoes for sauce

Oven roasted tomatoes and garlic

Sauce-fresh tomato, garlic,thyme and olive oil

Sauce-fresh tomato, garlic,thyme and olive oil

The tomato sauce is very simple, pre heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread cherry tomatoes and at least 3 cloves garlic on sheet pan,  I used assorted heirloom, drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and sprinkle generously with thyme. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes or until the tomatoes and garlic are softened and caramelized. Crush with fork or masher and add the meatballs, simmer on low heat for approximately 45 minutes to one hour. Serve with polenta.

Manchego Polenta

Manchego Polenta

Polenta ( You can easily half the recipe if doing tapas)

Serves 4-6 depending on serving size

4 cups whey or water

1 cup polenta (corn meal) I used stone ground

pinch of salt

1 cup grated manchego cheese

2 tbs butter

2 tbs heavy cream, creme fraiche or mascarpone

black pepper (2 or 3 turns of the pepper mill)

In saucepan add the whey or water and pinch of salt, bring to a rolling boil. Whisk in the polenta, don’t dump it all in add slowly while you are whisking it thickens very quickly. Lower heat to low and continue whisking until its done. It takes approximately 3-5 minutes for regular cornmeal and 7-10 minutes for stoneground. Remove from heat add the butter, cheese and heavy cream. Stir until its all incorporated. Cover pan and set aside.



I baked the meatballs at 375 degree’s for 30 minutes then finished on stove top simmering in fresh tomato sauce.