Patatas bravas is one of the most classic Spanish tapas dishes and is served in bars all throughout Spain. Supposedly, the dish was invented at a bar called Las Bravas in Madrid, though there are many people who beg to differ. The recipes vary throughout the country and even from tapas bar to tapas bar, but in theory, the bravas sauce should be a bit spicy — hence the name bravas, which means "fierce" or "courageous." This version of the sauce has a slight bite from adding Tabasco, which makes it easy to prepare.
- Start by peeling the potatoes. Cut the potatoes into 1/3" to 1/2" chunks as follows: Cut the potato lengthwise, then cut it lengthwise again.
- You should have four long pieces. Now, cut each of those pieces into 3-4 pieces, cutting crosswise. This should give you nice bite-sized pieces, small enough to use a toothpick to skewer. Sprinkle with salt.
- Pour the olive oil into a wide, deep frying pan, with a heavy bottom. Heat the oil on medium-high until hot. To test the oil, carefully place one piece of potato in the oil. It is hot enough if the potato immediately fries. If there is no bubbling/frying, the oil is not hot enough and the potato will absorb too much oil.
- Once the potatoes are fried (about 10 minutes), use a slotted spoon or a spatula to remove and set them aside on paper towels to drain.
- Using a small 8-inch frying pan, put 1-2 tablespoons of the olive oil in the pan. Heat over medium heat.
- Pour tomato sauce into the pan and "saute" the tomato sauce for 5 minutes.
- Turn heat down and add the mustard, stirring well.
- Finally, add the Tabasco and paprika, and mix well.
- Taste the sauce and adjust as necessary with salt, more Tabasco, etc.
- Place the potatoes on a plate or in a wide open dish.
- Pour the sauce over the potatoes and serve warm, with toothpicks.
Another dish that uses fried potato chunks to start, and finishes with a garlicky sauce is patatas con alioli. Alioli is a garlicky mayonnaise that goes perfectly with hot or cold potatoes. You could even try serving these side by side as complementary tapas, which we call patatas bravioli.