Monday, August 17, 2009

Patates Brava - Potato in a Catalan Manner

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is now also thought of as the culinary capital of the world by many. There's a good argument for this because Catalan cuisine is after all the foundation to the deconstructive gastronomy invented by Ferran Adria and his disciples. One mentions Catalan food to a foodie and the immediate response is Adria or El Bulli, his restaurant. But Catalan food is also a home food and magnificent preparations are possible for the home cook with even modest skills. I'm quite a fan of one preparation in particular, patatas brava. Patatas brava is a classic Catalan potato dish but these days it’s transformed into a very popular tapa in Barcelona bars. Restaurant chefs get into the act too and all sort of interpretive variations occur. The one I had at the Florian restaurant in Barcelona at Bertrand i Serra 20 in the early 1990s was demonstrated by the chef and owner Rosa Grau and her sous-chef Enrique Martin, who encased the potatoes in allioli. A more involved preparation as seen in the photograph is prepared by Chef Sergi Arola of the Arola restaurant in the Hotel Arts in Barcelona. The brava sauce is the tomato sauce. In more careless versions of patatas brava the brava sauce is made with ketchup and mayonnaise.
[Photo: Clifford A. Wright]


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