If a restaurant offers patatas bravas on its menu, I’m in! When done right, this essential Spanish tapas dish is satisfyingly delicious. There are two local restaurants here in Salt Lake City that serve some of the best patatas bravas I’ve ever tried – Finca and Meditrina. Do you know of a local restaurant in your city that has delicious patatas bravas? If so, tell your fellow readers about it in the comments below.
Originating in Spain, patatas bravas are typically offered in bars and restaurants as a small dish, or tapas item. As with most traditional foods, preparation methods vary per region. Sauces include a tomato-based version (such as the one I’m sharing here) or aioli-based (using garlic and olive oil). I think both are delightful.
Typically, the potatoes are par-boiled, towel dried (or drained), and then fried. Since I try to avoid frying foods at home, I prefer to bake them. I toss the potatoes in olive oil and bake them on a baking sheet. It works beautifully! The key is in cooking the potatoes at a high temperature and turning them half-way through baking to ensure you get a nice crispy crust on the outside of your potatoes.
This patatas bravas sauce gets its smokey flavor from smoked paprika and roasted canned tomatoes. You could use regular canned diced tomatoes, but you’d have to play around with adding a bit more smoked paprika to achieve a smokier flavor. I encourage you to experiment – that’s what cooking’s all about!
Also, when researching patatas bravas, I found no specific information about the variety of potatoes traditionally used in Spain, other than that they’re “white” potatoes. Again, the choice is yours here, but I used Yukon Gold because I love the flavor.
I hope you enjoy my Smokey Patatas Bravas recipe. Serve them warm (preferably) or at room temperature if you’re transporting them to a picnic or pot luck dinner. Be prepared to impress your friends and family. Yum!
Smokey Patatas Bravas
Originating in Spain, Smokey Patatas Bravas combine crispy, oven-baked potatoes with a smokey tomato-based sauce. This tapas restaurant favorite is great served with other tapas items or can be served as a side dish. I love brining it to pot luck dinners, but I will confess that I prefer to eat the potatoes fresh out of the oven with the freshly made sauce. Delicious!
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
- Category: Side Dishes
- Method: Baked
- 2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 ½” cubes
- 1 red onion, diced small
- 6 tbs olive oil (separated)
- 2–3 cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
- 2 ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ⅛ – ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
- kosher salt or coarse sea salt
- 1 – 8 oz can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 2 tbs chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
For the potatoes:
Preheat oven to 400° F.
In a large bowl, toss the cubed potatoes, 3 tbs of olive oil, and 1 tsp of salt. Arrange the potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake for about 45 (or until potatoes look golden and crispy). Be sure to turn the potatoes once mid-way through baking to ensure they crisp up evenly.
For the brava sauce:
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute the chopped onions on medium heat in 3 tbs of the olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add paprika and garlic and continue cooking until onions are translucent (adjusting heat down as needed to ensure garlic doesn’t burn – burned garlic turns bitter). At this point add the cayenne, salt and the chopped tomatoes. Stir and simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn the burner off and allow to cool for another five minutes. Place the tomato mixture into a blender and pulse a few times to a purée consistency (don’t liquify). Pour the brava sauce back into the skillet and simmer covered for another 10 minutes while the potatoes finish cooking). Adjust salt and add pepper to taste.
Once the potatoes have finished cooking, arrange them on a platter to serve, and top with about half the brava sauce. Garnish with parsley, and place the rest of the brava sauce in a separate bowl so people can add more sauce if they like.
I used Yukon Gold potatoes because I love the creamy texture and buttery flavor. Feel free to substitute the potatoes with whatever variety of white potatoes you have on hand.