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by Dan May (Ryland Peters and Small, 2012)

I am an absolute heat-freak, so I relish any book that comes subtitled 'fabulously fiery recipes for chilli fans'. The recipe below, for Patatas Bravas or Fierce Potatoes, is a Spanish classic and rightly so.

Patatas Bravas, or Fierce Potatoes

Known worldwide as a great tapas dish, this classic Spanish recipe takes all the flavours of rural Spain and combines them to wonderful effect. As with the majority of simple dishes, the success of this recipe is defined by the quality of the ingredients that go into it.  Fresh potatoes and garlic, ripe tomatoes and chilli and good - quality olive oil make this a delight to make as well as eat!



  • 400g/14oz new waxy potatoes, eg Rattle or Pink Fir Apple, scrubbed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves. crushed
  • 1 hot red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2-3 large, ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • pinch of sweet smoked paprika (pimenton dulce)
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • pinch of saffron strands
  • 1 teaspoon dried wild oregano
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or 1 olive oil and 1 chilli oil)
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

serves 4 as a side or tapas dish.



  1. Cut the potatoes into 2-cm/¾-inch pieces.  Put them in a large saucepan of lightly salted boiling water, cover and bring back to the boil. Cook until they are cooked through but still firm. Drain and pat dry with kitchen paper/paper towels.
  2. Put the 1 tablespoon oil in a small frying pan over medium heat and fry the garlic and chilli for about 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Add both types of paprika, the saffron and oregano.  Stir and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the flavours have fully mingled and the tomatoes have softened. Remove from the heat and cover.
  3. Put the 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat and fry the now-dry cubes of potato until golden brown and crispy. Season these with salt and pepper and serve topped with the spicy tomato sauce.

My tip: frying the potatoes in smoked chilli & rosemary oil adds a fantastic depth of flavour to this dish, infusing the potato cubes with a herby, garlicky, slightly smoky flavour.