Another of the typically Spanish dishes, and a classic in any tavern, are “patatas bravas”. These are potatoes accompanied by a spicy sauce called “salsa brava”. The name alludes to the power of the spicy sauce.
To cook them, the potatoes are cut into irregular cubes, and then they can be fried, cooked in water, or oil, or sometimes prepared in the oven. In Spain, it is most usual to take them as a tapa to accompany a beer, a wine or a vermouth. As a curiosity, United Nations included “patatas bravas” as a “typically Spanish dish” in a compilation of recipes published some years ago.
About the origin of this popular dish is not known. The only reference we have is that of Angel Muro, who at the end of the 19th century in his book “El practicón” states: “… any sauce, any seasoning, known or to be known, suits potatoes, […] even with fat and saffron, which is how the poor of Madrid cook it. ”
But, in fact, the patatas bravas began to spread rapidly after the Spanish Civil War, in the middle of the last century, because it was a fairly cheap product for those years of economic hardship.
But we must focus on the truly important aspect of this dish: salsa brava. In Madrid you can find different ways of preparing them, from a tomato sauce with cayenne, to onion, spicy paprika, flour and broth. However, it also varies greatly according to the different regions of Spain. For example, in Catalonia it is usually also included a sauce made with oil and garlic called “alioli”. The truth is that there is no standard to make them but they all have something in common: they must be homemade.
And of course, the patatas bravas we make at El Anciano Rey are totally homemade. You just have to come to check it out.