Veggiestani Patatas Bravas Salad

Yup, OK, we're crap at photography.

Another fine recipe from our chiller cabinet. We have to write them down here otherwise we’ll forget how we did it for next time. Patatas bravas is, as I am sure all you lovely food experts know, the tapas dish of choice for inebriated chicos and chicas the length and breadth of Spain. I first tried them in Alicante after a night of clubbing (yes, shopkeepers do dancing): it was 6am and I was presented with a plate of very fiery, smoky potatoes and a glass of Cantueso, the region’s pet hangover remedy. The somewhat weird taste combo has stuck very firmly in my mind.
Roll forward a few years, and I am looking for something red to contrast with my range of otherwise beige and green deli dishes. Yes, sometimes I cook by colour: don’t you? Well food doesn’t get much redder than patatas bravas, although there is an amazing amount of debate as to the best/most authentic recipe. We ignored the debate and just did our own thing – but the sauce tastes pretty authentic, we’ll have you know.
Ingredients (for a big bowlful):

  • 500g waxy potatoes, peeled
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 bunch chives, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, washed and chopped
  • 1 tin chick peas (400g)
  • 3 tablespoons ajvar (or use hot pepper paste mixed with vinegar and a pinch of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple vinegar
  • 2 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional – depends how hot you want it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt to taste

Cut the spuds into 2cm cubes and boil them with a little salt until they are cooked but still fairly firm. Drain and refresh tehm with cold water to prevent them from cooking any further. Put them in a bowl and add the onion, carrot, herbs and chick peas.
Whisk the ajvar, vinegar, tomatoes, garlic, spices and olive oil together, and then add salt to taste (ajvar can be salty in its own right). Drizzle the dressing over the potatoes. Serve at room temperature as a perfect meze/tapas dish to go with early evening drinks. It has to be said that it really isn’t that nice for breakfast.

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