I chuckle to myself each time I see a recipe online purporting to be an “authentic” patatas bravas recipe. I wouldn’t be able to tell you what a truly authentic patatas bravas would look like – each bar and restaurant makes them in their own way. Of course, they all need to contain potatoes and some kind of a sauce, usually (but not exclusively) and tomato-based one. However, the variation in cooking techniques and sauce ingredients is endless. As I’m such a potato addict, we usually order patatas bravas when we go out for tapas, which is nearly weekly, and we’ve sussed out our favorite bars around the city – some of which we go to exclusively for the patatas bravas. My version of patatas bravas involves smoking the potatoes first – a technique I’ve been experimenting with a lot lately ever since I MacGyvered an aluminum foil pan and some chicken wire into a smoker for my stove top.
It’s really simple, just put a small handful of soaked barbeque wood chips in one corner of the pan and place the veggies on top of the chicken wire. I use apple wood chips that I picked up in the barbeque section of my local hardware store. I usually put a couple of cans on top of the lid to get a bit of a better seal, but some of the smoke escapes regardless. I haven’t found that it smokes out my entire kitchen, our exhaust fan seems to take care of it pretty well. I place the end of the pan with the wood chips in it directly on the stove element over high heat until the chips start smoking, then reduce the heat to medium. We have electric elements, I’m not sure how this would work over a gas range, but I’d be interested in knowing if anyone tries it. The best way I’ve found to smoke potatoes is to roast them in the oven until they’re about halfway done and then finish them in the smoker for about 45 minutes to impart the smokey barbeque flavour.
For the salsa brava