This version of patatas bravas features potatoes roasted in duck fat until they’re super crispy, then topped with spicy brava sauce and creamy, garlicky allioli.
I’ve been on a quest for months to make truly crispy roasted potatoes. They’re more elusive than you might expect. Simply roasting potatoes in a hot oven for a long time may give you some crunch around the edges, but the interior of the potato isn’t satisfactory. I need the insides of the potatoes to be tender and fluffy with no hint of dryness. And I’m not after just crunchy corners–I’m in need of some solid, wrap-around, all-encompassing crunch.
My quest finally came to a delicious end when I discovered this recipe for roasted duck fat potatoes on The Domestic Man. I bought myself a jar of Epic Cage-Free Duck Fat from Thrive Market and got roasting. The recipe requires you to parboil the potatoes, drain them, rinse them until they’re cool, and pat them dry. Then you heat the duck fat on the sheet pan in the oven before adding the potatoes, so they sizzle when they go on. After that, they roast for about an hour.
The results are just perfect, but it’s not exactly a quick recipe. You can’t really get around the lengthy roasting time, but I’ve discovered you can microwave the potatoes with a bit of water for five minutes instead of waiting for a pot of water to boil. Somehow, eliminating the stovetop step makes all the difference for me, and I’ve now moved these potatoes from a weekend treat to a valued member of my weeknight arsenal. (Of course, if you don’t have a microwave or don’t want to use one, you can just follow Russ’ original instructions here.)
The resulting potatoes are so crispy, and have such great flavor thanks to the duck fat, that you could fool people into thinking they’re fried. That’s actually what inspired me to turn these into patatas bravas, which are usually made with fried potatoes.
If you’re a fan of tapas, you’ve probably tried patatas bravas before. They’re a classic Spanish dish of potatoes with two sauces: a spicy, smoky, red sauce (salsa brava) and a creamy garlic sauce (allioli–a Spanish variant of aioli that’s made with olive oil. It can actually be made with JUST olive oil and garlic, but here we’re using mayo as a shortcut.) The potatoes, spicy sauce, and creamy sauce go so well together, covering all the most important flavor and texture bases. With a sprinkling of fresh cilantro or parsley on top for color and fresh flavor, I couldn’t ask for anything more.
You can serve these as an appetizer or side with any meal, but if you want to go all out and have a tapas night, I’ve got you covered. Make these patatas bravas, gambas al ajillo (sizzling garlic shrimp), and galician greens (kale + collards with pine nuts, raisins, and bacon!) for a full meal of Spanish snacks. And if you have Paleo Planet, you can also make the tortilla española with sweet potatoes on page 51.
- 3 pounds potatoes, peeled if desired, chopped into bite-size chunks
- ¼ cup duck fat (I use Epic)
- Sea salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons sherry or white wine vinegar
- 1½ teaspoons bittersweet smoked paprika
- Cayenne, to taste
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ½ cup mayonnaise (I use Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo)
- ¼ teaspoon garlic paste (or 1 small garlic clove, grated)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Chopped fresh cilantro or parsley
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Put the potatoes in a large microwaveable bowl with ½ cup water and cover with parchment paper. Microwave for 5 minutes. Drain the potatoes and rinse them with cold water until they no longer feel warm to the touch and pat them dry.
- While the potatoes are in the microwave, put the duck fat on a large, rimmed baking sheet and place it in the oven for about five minutes to warm up.
- Carefully add the potatoes to the hot baking sheet and mix with a spatula to coat them with the duck fat. Roast for 30 minutes, then flip the potatoes and raise the oven temperature to 450°F. Roast for 15-25 more minutes, or until the potatoes are a rich golden brown on the outside but tender and fluffy on the inside. Drain the potatoes on paper towels and sprinkle them liberally with sea salt.
- While the potatoes are roasting, prepare the sauces. To make the salsa brava, heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
- To make the allioli, whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.
- Serve the potatoes hot topped with dollops of both sauces and a sprinkling of fresh herbs.
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