Monday, November 30, 2009

Tapas ~ Potato Aioli and Potato Bravas

Potato Aioli and Potato Bravas
(Patatas Aioli and Patatas Bravas)
As shared from the Kitchen of Once Upon a Plate
Serves 4

These are two styles of delicious little Spanish potato tapas (appetizers/snacks) that take only a few minutes from start to serving time. You can serve one or the other, but I always serve the two together as the creamy Aioli compliments the spicy Bravas sauce perfectly.

4 to 5 potatoes, peeled
Olive Oil
Sauces (directions follow)

Peel the potatoes then cut them into bite-size cubes. The easiest way is to cut each peeled potato into quarters (lengthwise) into four long pieces. Then cut each of those lengths crosswise ~ 3 to 4 pieces each, cutting crosswise. (The pieces should be bite-size and large enough to be picked up with a toothpick.) Sprinkle with salt.

Pour olive oil in a large, deep frying pan, one with a heavy bottom (Cast iron is my choice, but a heavy Dutch or French oven also work.) Heat the oil on medium high until hot. It is important to heat the oil so one potato cube immediately sizzles and fries when placed in the oil. (If the oil is not hot enough the potatoes will absorb too much oil.) When oil is hot enough add potatoes in a single layer with a little space between each cube. Allow to brown lightly on one side then turn potatoes with a spatula and shake pan so the potatoes have a chance to cook on each side; turn and rotate as necessary until evenly golden brown on all sides; this takes about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the pan to drain.

To make the quickie Aioli Sauce:

1/2 cup good quality Mayonnaise (Hellmann's or Best Foods)
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 to 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Stir all ingredients together until sauce is smooth and silky.

To make the Bravas Sauce:

4 ounces (1/2 cup) tomato sauce (from the can)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard (I prefer Dijon in this recipe)
1 to 2 teaspoons Smoked Spanish Paprika, or Sweet Spanish Paprika
Tabasco sauce
Salt to taste

In a small 8-inch frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Carefully add 1/2 cup canned tomato sauce to the pan, stir and cook the tomato sauce for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat, add the mustard, stir to blend thoroughly. Add the Tabasco and paprika, and mix well and cook for a minute to bring out the flavors. Add salt to taste. If desired add more Tabasco if you like it spicier.

To Serve:

Divide the potatoes between two cazuelas* or shallow bowls. Pour the Aioli Sauce over one dish of potatoes, and the Brava Sauce over the other. Serve hot with toothpicks to spear the potato chunks.

* Are you familiar with the traditional cooking vessels known as Cazuelas ? (If not, you can click the link to learn more.) They are useful for cooking and serving ~ they are inexpensive enough to have an entire collection, too. I use them very frequently for all kinds of dishes.

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