Javier is a Basque born, trained chef and hospitality professional, owner of Basco Fine Foods, a Spanish food and drink importer based in Yorkshire. He regularly runs client food and drink events around the country and he is a course tutor at Hartingtons of Bakewell cookery school. Javier’s passion lies on bringing quality Spanish ingredients and recipes to as many people as possible.
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Patatas bravas are probably the most popular tapas dish in the world but being truthful a lot of Spanish bars and restaurants in the UK get it so wrong when preparing them. In Spain, purists of bravas see Madrid as the mecca or capital of patatas bravas and in particular, a bar called Docamar located in Quintana, who have specialised in these fiery fried potatoes for over half a century and sell over 1.5 tonnes of potatoes every weekend.The two key ingredients to a good plate of patatas bravas are the potatoes and the bravas sauce. Always use fresh potatoes and choose a variety that is neither too wet nor too dry. I tend to use Russet or Maris Piper. A potato that is too wet has a low solids content and will tend to have a waxy, soggy texture when fried. Potatoes that are too dry tend to be too hard and crunchy when fried. The potatoes are always cut into irregular chunks of about 1 to 1.5 inches and fried in two stages. The first stage is on a low heat to cook the potatoes and the second stage is on a high heat to brown them on the outside and make them crispy. Authentic bravas sauce is not fully made out of a spicy tomato sauce but instead it is made from a velouté sauce made with onions, garlic, spicy paprika, flour, fresh tomatoes and chicken stock. The sauce needs to be spicy but without being too hot. It can be made in advance and served in a bottle, just like Docamar do, so your guests can pour as much or as little bravas sauce as they want. You can also make it in advance and freeze it.