Friday, April 8, 2011

Patatas Bravas


Oh, never, surely, was a dish
So served by hand of dame,
As served were these, a breakfast wish,
When from our beds we came.


So might Cervantes have written, had he been in the kitchen when I made this adaptation of a classic tapas recipe for a recent, outrageously filling brunch. (Realizing that it's always best to be fortified for a long day tilting at windmills.) The main changes I made to the source recipe - found, like many an inspiration, in the food section of my beloved Guardian - were to increase the seasonings in the red sauce, and to roast the potatoes rather than frying them. Instead of the traditional aioli, I made a saffron-garlic sauce, but if you're feeling lazy, you could just substitute your favorite vegan garlic mayonnaise. Like most quixotic enterprises, it took a little time and effort to pull everything together, but the ensuing praise from my knight in shining armor made it all worthwhile.

The Potatoes
Ingredients
~ 5 lbs. potatoes, cut into rough chunks (I used Yukon Gold)
~ 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
~ Kosher salt
~ Fresh black pepper
~ 1 tsp. each: paprika, parsley

Directions
~ Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit, and coat two baking sheets with cooking spray.
~ In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, oil, salt, pepper, paprika, and parsley. Mix everything together with your hands, making sure all the potatoes are thoroughly coated.
~ Divide the potatoes between the two baking sheets, and roast at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring occasionally, until crisp and brown.
~ While that's happening, you can make...

The Red Sauce
Ingredients
~ 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
~ 1 small onion, finely diced
~ 1 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 28 oz. can fire-roasted, diced tomatoes
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, smoked paprika, chili powder, cilantro, cumin, sugar
~ 1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
~ Pinch of nutmeg
~ 1 tbsp. each: sherry, balsamic vinegar

Directions
~ In a saucepan, saute the onion in the oil over medium heat for about 5-7 minutes, until softened and golden.
~ Add the garlic and cook another minute.
~ Add the canned tomatoes (including liquid) and all the seasonings except the sherry and vinegar.
~ Stir to combine, bring to a boil, and then lower the heat to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce has reduced to thick, dark, deliciousness.
~ Add the sherry and the balsamic vinegar, stir to combine, and remove from heat.

The Yellow Sauce
Ingredients
~ 1 tbsp. Earth Balance
~ 2 tbsp. minced garlic
~ 1 tbsp. flour
~ 1.5 cup plain, unsweetened soy milk
~ 1/2 tsp. saffron threads
~ 1/2 cup raw cashews
~ Juice of 1 lemon
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, tarragon
~ 2 tsp. Dr Gonzo's Garlic Mash (optional, but awesome: http://www.drgonzos.com/Garlicmash-No-4.html)

Directions
~ In a saucepan or the microwave, heat the soy milk, saffron and cashews to nearly boiling and allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before blending in a food processor until completely smooth.
~ In a saucepan, melt the margarine over low heat, then add the garlic. Saute briefly, then add the flour to make a roux.
~ Raise the heat to medium, then begin gradually adding the blended cashew/soy milk mixture, stirring continually.
~ Add the lemon juice, salt, tarragon, and Garlic Mash. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, continuing to stir, until thickened; if it gets too thick, add a little water or soy milk to get the consistency you like.

And now...
~ Ladle some red sauce onto a warmed plate, arrange potatoes on top, and spoon on some of the yellow sauce. Top with a sprinkle of cilantro or parsley and serve immediately, accompanied by the flourish of (probably imaginary) hautboys.

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