Patatas Bravas

Recipe from Psychologies Magazine and taken from Moorish: Vibrant recipes from the Mediterranean.

The Moorish connection here is the sauce. Originating in Madrid as a simple tomato sauce with lots of chilli flakes (bravas, roughly translated, means fierce), it then made its way around Spain’s regions and picked up its Moorish influence through Andalucia. It’s the ultimate version : spicy, smoky and sharpened with sherry vinegar.

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Serves : 4

Ingredients :
600g large waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into thick chips
Extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
1 tblsp hot smoked paprika
1 heaped tsp cumin seeds
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
250g very ripe tomatoes, cored and roughly chopped
1 tblsp sherry vinegar
1 tsp freshly picked thyme leaves

Step One : Rinse the potatoes in cold water, then place them in a pan of salted water. Bring to a simmer and partly cook – they should still be a little firm in the centre. Drain and spread the potatoes on a try to cool for at least 1 hour.

Step Two : To make the sauce, heat a glug of olive oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, chilli, smoked paprika and cumin seeds. Cook, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes or until the onion is very soft. Add the canned and fresh tomatoes, then the vinegar. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for an hour or so, until the sauce has reduced by half, stirring occasionally to prevent it sticking. Season well and stir in the thyme leaves, plus a splash of oil. Remove from the heat.

Step Three : Preheat the oven to 200oC / Gas Mark 6. Tip the potatoes into a roasting tray. Liberally drizzle olive oil over them and toss to coat. Season well. Roast, shaking the tray occasionally, for 45 minutes or until the potatoes are crisp and golden brown. Sprinkle the potatoes with sea salt and spoon the bravas sauce on top. Serve with homemade alioli on the side.

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