One of the most ubiquitous dishes in all of the Iberian Peninsula is patatas bravas, generous lumps of fried potato that should be crisp on the outside and tender and soft on the inside. One of my friends here even started a patatas bravas Facebook page to alert people to good places to find them. As common as patatas bravas are in the bars in Spain there are few places that do this dish justice. I would have to say that, in general, the bars of Madrid do a much better job with bravas than here in Valencia.
I’ve tried making patatas bravas at home with varying degrees of success and countless degrees of utter failure. I don’t have an oil thermometer which is essential if you are using the twice-fried method, and the twice-fried way makes the best fried potatoes. I recently experimented with a par-boiled method in which I boil the cut and peeled potatoes in salted water, making sure not to cook them very much. You are just looking to make them a bit tender because anything more and they will fall apart when you cook them again in hot oil. I never even brought the potatoes to a boil but turned off the heat as the water approached a boil and left the potatoes to sit in the covered pot. I set my timer so that I didn’t leave them too long. I can’t say exactly how long to cook them or just when I decided to drain them. After I drained them I immediately put them in the freezer to halt the cooking process. I timed this, too, so that they wouldn’t freeze. Once they had cooled completely they are ready to fry in hot sunflower seed oil.
I topped these potatoes off with my fiercely-garlicky alioli.