Patatas Bravas

Patatas Bravas
Chef: Sergi Arola
Country: Spain
City: 28010 Madrid
Address: Zurbano 31
(+34) 91 308 72 40

Grub just doesn’t come any plainer than this little heap of fried potatoes dressed up in a spicy tomato sauce. It’s unbeatable price-wise too. And you’ll never find anything raunchier. It’s as common as could be. And surely the only appeal it has left is its low-dive aura and its seditious allure. It must be that shabby reputation that provoked Sergi Arola into making a top-notch dish out of what is usually the most unappetising of appetisers, as much maligned or more so than the hamburger.
A dish for posterity, this creation from atemporal realms. An arrogant dish that challenges the diner, who is left wondering whether one can ask for a serving of plain old spuds in a de-luxe designer restaurant. A dish that reminds us that our modern haute cuisine draws its inspiration from the lowest of the low, as has always been the case in the history of gastronomy, fashioning a tempting morsel out of nothing. A fried dish free of dubious odours, kindling a spark of hope that the Spanish fry-up may not be entirely beyond redemption. A dish that is fierce like garlic and cayenne.
Neatly cut potatoes, shaped with an apple corer. After deep-steeping at 100 degrees in olive oil, they are fried to create two textures: buttery inside and with a fine crisp coat outside. All arranged standing up in single file. And crowned with two sauces for dunking with bread: one a fiery sauce (fried tomato, garlic and chilli, concentrated for two hours), and the other leaning towards volatility and refinement – an alioli (garlic mayonnaise).

The Recipe


  • 400 gr new potatoes
  • 1 l olive oil 0.4º
  • 1 egg
  • 500 gr ripe tomatoes on the vine
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 red pepper
  • 5 gr cayenne pepper
  • salt and black pepper


Cut the potato with a pineapple corer. Empty the potato with a scooper smaller than the diameter of the potato, then submerge in oil and simmer at 60ºC for 1 hour. Finally, drain the oil.
For the tomato sauce, sauté one garlic clove and the onion, add the coarsely chopped tomatoes and simmer for 3 hours over low heat. Add the cayenne and strain through a purée sieve. Add salt and black pepper to taste and pour the sauce into a squeeze bottle.
Blanch the remaining garlic clove and add it, finely chopped, to the egg yolk. Emulsify with oil using the traditional method.
Place the potato on the plate first, then top with the spicy tomato sauce and, finally, the alioli. Gratiné under the salamander.