I get to eat a crazy amount of really good food at work…..too much, actually. Every day there’s something new to taste and test, produced by the super talented group I work with at Cook’s Illustrated. From shrimp scampi to strawberry shortcake to Korean fried chicken to lemon posset, all so different and all among my favorite recipes developed by the CI team over the past year. Regardless of how much we all enjoy tucking into these dishes over the course of recipe development, after sampling a dish a few times a day for 3-4 weeks straight, even the most amazing treats can start to feel like a house guest that’s overstayed his welcome.
Not so with these Patatas Bravas.
This was one of those recipes that I couldn’t bear to say goodbye to, even after weeks of tastings and critiques. When Annie Petito finally nailed this recipe and it left the test kitchen to be surveyed by home chefs, I actually think I wept a little. Crispy outside, light and fluffy inside, and with a totally addictive, smoky-spicy “brava” sauce, these little nuggets are the definition of a binge-worthy treat! These tater bombs were made again for shooting TV just a couple weeks back, and after months of no patatas bravas in the test kitchen I must say there was a bit of a feeding frenzy when the episode wrapped and all the cooks and production crew descended on these babies like starving, wild animals.
It was kinda scary!
Having seen what these tots can do to people, when I made them the other day for my Mom’s birthday dinner I kept a bowl of them and some dipping sauce behind with me in the safety of my kitchen so I could avoid the risk of injury as folks formed a scrum around them in the living room. I would encourage you to do the same!
Cheers – Steve
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced to paste
- 1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 - 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup tomato paste
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 1/4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- kosher salt
- 3 cups vegetable oil
- FOR THE SAUCE: Heat oil in small saucepan over medium-low heat until shimmering. Add garlic, paprika, salt, and cayenne and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and cook for 30 seconds. Whisk in water and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer sauce to bowl, stir in vinegar, and let cool completely. Once cool, whisk in mayonnaise. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.)
- FOR THE POTATOES: Bring 8 cups water to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Add potatoes and baking soda. Return to boil and cook for 1 minute. Drain potatoes.
- Return potatoes to saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, shaking saucepan occasionally, until any surface moisture has evaporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and stir with rubber spatula until potatoes are coated with thick, starchy paste, about 30 seconds. Transfer potatoes to rimmed baking sheet in single layer to cool. (Potatoes can stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours.)
- Heat oil in large Dutch oven over high heat to 375 degrees. Add all potatoes (they should just be submerged in oil) and cook, stirring occasionally with wire skimmer or slotted spoon, until deep golden brown and crispy, 20 to 25 minutes.
- Transfer potatoes to paper towel–lined wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt to taste. Spoon 1/2 cup sauce onto bottom of large platter or 1 1/2 tablespoons sauce onto individual plates. Arrange potatoes over sauce and serve immediately, passing remaining sauce separately.