We enjoy the small plate style of Tapas now and then and two of our favourite dishes are Patatas Bravas and Crab Cakes. While it’s lovely to go to Meditrina or Martine Cafe (two of our favourite local tapas restaurants) and order many small plates to share- occasionally we like to make our own at home.
Patatas Bravas (brave potatoes) are very easy to make and so delicious.
In exploring some Spanish cuisine I’ve found that spicy foods are not often the standing order. A Spanish friend of mine once complained that black pepper was too spicy. So these potatoes are for those with “machismo.”
- Potatoes as many as you like, scrubbed and dried -about 2 pounds will serve four people
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 large or 3 small dried chiles- I use Guajillo, remove seeds and break up into pieces
- 3/4 teaspoon of toasted and ground cumin seeds
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 2 Tablespoons red wine or sherry vinegar
- pinch of salt
- olive oil for frying
- one bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- salt and pepper to taste for finishing
- chile salsa mayonnaise or romesco sauce for serving
Boil the potatoes until almost tender- about 10-12 minutes. Drain and cool them.
While the potatoes are cooling, place the garlic and chilies in a mortar and pestle and pound them until a smooth paste forms, add the cumin, paprika, vinegar and salt and mix well. Set aside.
Slice the potatoes about 1/4″ thick or even a little thicker. Heat a heavy, wide skillet for a few minutes over medium flame and then add olive oil to thinly coat the bottom. Add the sliced potatoes in a single layer and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Fry until golden on one side and then flip. They will stick at first- but will release once a crust is formed. Fry the other side until it releases and add the sliced pepper and fry until the pepper is tender. Add a tablespoon of the garlic-chile paste and turn the potatoes into it to coat all sides. Fry for a few minutes and then serve. Drizzle a bit of mayonnaise mixed with some salsa to taste over the top or serve a romesco sauce on the side.
The chile-garlic paste will keep for a few days in the fridge so you can cook extra potatoes and make these a few times, or use the paste in other dishes to add some spice.
I know it’s not usual to use King Crab in crabcakes but I had some on hand and they were delicious.
King Crab Cakes
- 1 cup cooked king crab meat, picked over for shells
- 1/2 cup red onion minced
- 1/2 cup celery minced fine
- pinch of old bay seasoning
- pinch of chile powder- I use Rick’s homemade mmm
- a couple of teaspoons of mayonnaise
- about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of moist bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- panko bread crumbs to coat
- salt and pepper to taste
- chile mayonnaise or romesco for serving
Mix all except the panko crumbs until you have a light mixture that will hold together when pressed lightly. You may have to adjust the bread crumbs but don’t add too many or you will make the crab cakes heavy. Form small cakes and coat with panko crumbs. Fry in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat in a little olive oil until cooked through and browned on all sides. Serve with a bit of chile-mayonnaise or romesco sauce.
I made a nice Pom spritzer – with Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice and a bit of San Pellegrino sparkling water and lemonade to go with these one night. Janny from Pom Wonderful was nice enough to send me some a while ago. I do really like and use their very healthy product and have posted about it before, we make a lot of Pom martinis and cocktails around here. I also like it in smoothies, have used it to make granola, had it over cereal and we even add it in a splash to our water with meals for a refresher. There is always a bottle in our fridge.
Try using some in Sangria- I made a pitcher of that on another night that we had Tapas.
- one bottle nice Spanish red wine like Rioja
- 1- eight ounce bottle Pom Pomegranate juice
- 1/2 cup orange brandy or Gran Marnier
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- Sparking mineral water such as San Pellegrino to taste
- Sliced fruit- oranges, lemons, limes or even grapes and peaches etc.
Mix the first 5 ingredients making sure the sugar dissolves. Add sparkling water to taste to dilute or add fizz. Add the sliced fruit and enjoy responsibly.
Do you ever enjoy an evening of Tapas- what are your favourites?