Patatas Bravas
(Fried Potatoes with Allioli and Spicy Sauce)

Patatas Bravas
(Fried Potatoes with Allioli and Spicy Sauce)

For the brava sauce
6 fresh tomatoes
3 Tbs. Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. sugar
1 bay leaf
1 tsp. pimentón (Spanish sweet paprika)
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 Tbs. sherry vinegar
Salt to taste

For the potatoes
4 cups Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds Idaho potatoes (about 3-4 large potatoes), peeled and cut into 1" cubes
Salt to taste
1/2 cup allioli (see recipe to follow)
1 bunch chives, finely chopped, for garnish

For the allioli sauce
1 small egg
1 cup Spanish extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 Tbs. Spanish Sherry vinegar or lemon juice
Salt to taste

Cut each tomato in half lengthwise. Place a grater over a bowl and grate the open side of the tomato into the bowl. Strain the grated flesh through a sieve to produce 2 cups of tomato puree. To make the brava sauce, pour the 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a small pan and warm over a low flame. Add the tomato puree, sugar, bay leaf, pimentón, and cayenne. Raise the heat to medium and cook until the mixture reduces by 2/3 and becomes a deep red color, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the vinegar, add salt to taste, and reserve. Take a deep and heavy-bottomed pot and pour in the olive oil. Heat to 250°F. Place the potatoes in the oil and poach them, frying them slowly until soft, which normally takes about 10 minutes. The potatoes won't change color but they will soften all the way through. You can test for softness by inserting a toothpick; if it comes out easily, the potatoes are done. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon or a spider and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Raise the temperature of the olive oil to 350°F. Return the potatoes to the pot. Fry in batches until crispy and brown, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Continue until all the potatoes have been fried. Drizzle a little brava sauce on a serving plate. Top with the potatoes, add a dollop of the allioli, and sprinkle with chives.
Allioli a la moderna (Modern garlic and oil sauce)
Break the egg into a mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and the garlic cloves, along with the vinegar or lemon juice. Using a hand blender, start mixing at high speed until the garlic is fully pureed into a loose paste. Little by little, add what's left of the olive oil as you continue blending. If the mixture appears too thick as you begin pouring the oil, add 1 teaspoon of water to loosen the sauce. Continue adding the oil and blending until you have a rich, creamy allioli. The sauce will be a lovely yellow color. Add salt to taste.
** If you do not have access to a hand blender, you can use a hand mixer (the kind with the two beaters) or a food processor. If you use a food processor, you must double the recipe or the amount will be too little for the blades to catch and emulsify.
***What happens if the oil and egg separate? Don't throw it out. You can do two things. One is to whisk it and use it as a side sauce for a fish or vegetable. But if you want to rescue the allioli, take 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water in another beaker and start adding to the mix little by little. Blend it again until you create the creamy sauce you wanted.

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