On more than one occasion, when my family has gotten together for dinner, the theme has been “appetizers.” We all love them – and maybe that is why I am so fascinated with tapas. And really, they seem to be becoming all the rage these days – with all-tapas restaurants opening up everywhere. What’s not to love? I think my favorite part of having an all appetizer or tapas dinner is that you don’t have to choose just one thing – you get to have a whole variety of dishes for dinner!!
I was really enamored with the tapas chapter in this cookbook. I thought I had an idea of what Spanish cuisine consisted of, but I have realized that I really had no idea. I seriously spent so much time going through this chapter, trying to decide what I wanted to try first! Which may have you wondering why I went with what seems like such an un-adventurous choice. Well, this was one of those recipes that surprised me by being so much better than I anticipated!! Don’t let it’s simple ingredient list or appearance fool you – this is a tapas dish that is full of flavor!
First – the potatoes. The heading to the recipe says that in most restaurants and bars, the potatoes will be deep fried. Well, these potatoes do not need to be fried. They are so crispy and delicious. They take a bit of time to make, but they are well worth it.
The tomato sauce – oh, the tomato sauce. I was only going to make half a batch, but I decided to do the whole thing so I wouldn’t have half a can of tomatoes left over. I’m so glad I did, because this is a tasty sauce!! I probably could have gone a little heavier on the red pepper flakes since mine wasn’t very spicy, but it sure was tasty!
And on the allioli – the book actually gives a recipe to make it from scratch. But since I’m pregnant, I didn’t want to be eating raw eggs, so I went with the mock version.
While each component is delicious on it’s own, it is pure magic when you eat them all together! It was one of those “wow” moments when I took my first bite. I wasn’t even hungry, but I managed to eat quite a few of those potato wedges!! It was all such a pleasant surprise, and I’m so glad I chose this recipe!!
Crisp Potatoes with Spicy Tomato Sauce
from The New Spanish Table
serves 4 to 6
total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
16 small red potatoes
3 to 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
spicy tomato sauce (recipe follows)
allioli (recipe follows)
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a skewer, about 20 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain and let cool. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut each potato into quarters.
Preheat the oven to 475F.
Place the potatoes, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and some salt in a bowl and toss to coat evenly. Be careful not to break the potatoes apart, adding more oil if needed. Spread the potatoes in an even layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven, turning once, until crisp and browned, about 40 minutes.
Arrange the potatoes on a serving platter and drizzle with the Spicy Tomato Sauce and the Allioli.
Spicy Tomato Sauce
slightly adapted from The New Spanish Table
makes about 1 3/4 cups
total time: 30 minutes
4 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3/4 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 medium pinch red pepper flakes
1 can (14-15 oz) peeled whole plum tomatoes
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1 large pinch sugar
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the paprika, cumin and pepper flakes and stir for a few minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice plus 1/2 cup of water. Break up the tomatoes (I use a potato masher – this makes it easy!) Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes have broken down, 15 to 20 minutes. If the sauce gets too thick, add more water. Add the vinegar and sugar. Season to taste with salt and Tobasco sauce and remove from heat. Let the sauce cool for a few minutes then using a blender or a food processor, puree the mixture. Taste it again and add more salt or Tobasco if needed. Serve the sauce at room temperature. You can store it in a jar, with a film of olive oil on top, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
from The New Spanish Table
makes just over 1 cup
1 cup store-bought mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 large cloves of garlic, crushed in a garlic press
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Put the mayonnaise in a bowl and whisk in the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and salt to taste. Let stand for at least 2 hours for the flavors to develop.