I freely admit I don’t have the greatest memory in the world. Recalling what I did a year or even a day ago proves to be a challenge at times. The main prompt that helps me recount an occasion is food. I have this otherwise useless power to remember who I ate with, what I ate, when I ate it, where I ate, and why. Here’s an example: On a trip to Spain in 2017 with three of my friends, Amy, Ali, and Elefteria, the very first thing we ate was patatas bravas atop a Madrid rooftop bar. I remember what we drank too—sangria, a pitcher or two to be exact. Why? Because Spain.
Patatas bravas is a traditional Spanish tapa made with crispy potatoes and topped with a spicy tomato sauce that hasn’t left my memory taste bank since that very first bite. So much so that I immediately wanted to turn this Spanish tapa into a Greek style meze. How to make them “Greeky” you may wonder? Simply parboil, then bake the potatoes with extra virgin olive oil and oregano, plus some paprika—your potatoes will be crispy outside, soft inside and have just a bit of Spanish tang. As for the sauce, I use an even spicier version of the popular Greek tyrokafteri (spicy feta dip) and enhance it with even more paprika for that perfect redness. Just add more yogurt for a creamier and lighter sauce. The result? A tapa/meze you’ll never forget.
- 2 sweet red peppers, seeded and chopped
- 1 spicy red pepper, seeded and chopped*
- 2-3 sprinkles of chili flakes—more for more heat
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces soft feta cheese
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- 4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place in the oven.
- For the sauce: Add half the olive oil to a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add all of the chopped peppers and the chili flakes and paprika. Sauté until the peppers have softened.
- In a food processor or mixer, add feta, yogurt, garlic, vinegar, and the grilled peppers, along with the oil accumulated from the pan.
- Mix everything together in the food processor until you have a smooth texture. With the mixer on medium speed, gradually add the remaining olive oil. Check for flavor and add more chili flakes for more spice, or more yogurt for a creamier texture. Cover and set sauce aside while potatoes cook.
- For the potatoes: Bring eight cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add potatoes, baking soda, and one teaspoon of salt. Bring the water back to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for 5-10 minutes.
- Drain the potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Coat well with olive oil, oregano, paprika, and salt and pepper. Carefully remove the baking sheet from oven and arrange the potatoes in a single layer.
- Bake until the potatoes are golden and crisp, about 25-30 minutes.
- Once potatoes are ready, remove from the oven and transfer to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with salt and paprika to taste. Then, drizzle the spicy sauce on top and serve.
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