Jamie Oliver’s patatas bravas tapas recipe tastes ‘beautiful’

Potatoes can get boring served mashed, boiled, roasted or fried, but this classic Spanish recipe offers a new way to enjoy them.

Patatas bravas is a simple dish formed of two main components; deliciously cooked potatoes and a spiced tomato sauce.

Sharing an authentic recipe for the dish in his cookbook ‘Jamie Does…’, Jamie Oliver said: “Whether you’re in Madrid or Manchester, you’ll have to look really hard to find a tapas bar that doesn’t serve some version of these potatoes.

“They’re beautiful fried simply with herbs and a pinch of salt, but even more exciting served in a spicy tomato ‘bravas’ sauce. ‘Patatas bravas’ actually means ‘fierce potatoes’… How could anyone resist something with such a brilliant name?”

The potatoes are not too tricky to make with the ingredients list calling mostly for a mix of dried and fresh herbs. And of course, some earthy spuds.

Patatas bravas recipe


  • Four medium potatoes, peeled and halved, (approximately 800g)
  • Two cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • Two sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • One tsp sweet paprika
  • One tsp fennel seeds

For the sauce

  • Olive oil
  • One onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • Four cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • Three fresh red chillies, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • One carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • One 400 g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • One tbsp sherry vinegar


First, fill a large saucepan with boiling water and add the peeled and chopped potatoes. Parboil the potatoes over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until tender but still holding their shape.

Carefully drain them in a colander and leave them to steam dry until cool. Meanwhile, place a frying pan over low heat and start your bravas sauce.

Add some olive oil and, once hot, add the chopped onion and sliced garlic. Cook these out for five minutes until soft, but avoid browning them too much.

Next, add the chillies, carrot and thyme leaves and cook for another five minutes. After this, pour in the tinned tomatoes, sherry vinegar and a good pinch of salt and black pepper. Bring all of this to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the carrots are soft and the sauce is “lovely and thick”, as put by Jamie.

While the sauce simmers, put another large frying pan on medium heat and add 0.5cm of olive oil. Cut the boiled potatoes into large bite-sized chunks, then once the oil is hot, carefully add your potatoes to the pan.

Fry the spuds for around eight minutes, turning occasionally, until golden all over. Jamie warned: “You’ll need to do this in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan.”

Add the garlic and rosemary leaves to the pan for the last minute of cooking. Next, transfer the potatoes, garlic and rosemary to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain, then scatter over the paprika, fennel seeds and a good pinch of salt before tossing everything together until the potatoes are well coated.

Take the cooked sauce from earlier and pour it into a blender, or use a hand blender, and whiz until smooth. Season to taste, then serve the sauce in a jug next to your potatoes or, if pour it all over the potatoes before serving for a more authentic finish.

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