The Best Things Come in… Well, You Know: Patatas Bravas & Roast Vegetable Antipasta

oh hey, delicious tapas (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

I like little things. Maybe this is because I myself am little. Or maybe it’s because there’s something absolutely endearing about holding a button-sized penguin in the palm of your hand. Penguins. I don’t know.

This is also perhaps why I find tapas particularly appealing. They are small. Though messy, you can hold them in your hands. Also, they are delicious.

dates and prunes wrapped in bacon (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

For a long time, my favorite restaurant was a Spanish tapas place in Bremen called Aioli. I was thirteen the first time we were there – my family and a group of college students doing a summer study program with my parents. We sat wedged together at a big table, sneaking bits of fried octopus and potato slices, anchovies, dates wrapped in bacon, marinated eggplant slices. Picking food from platters family style, because that summer, we were like family.

The restaurant was snuck into the Schnoor viertel, one of the oldest sections of town. Like everything in the Schnoor, where the roads were as wide as a handspan and the buildings all falling in on themselves, we could never find the restaurant again if we were looking for it. Just every now and then, we’d turn a corner and its friendly yellow façade would be waiting there to welcome us inside, promising fresh sangria heaped with fruits, dim blue lights, wooden tables, and slathers of garlic.

I once told a friend of mine about this favorite restaurant. Apparently, he spent the entire conversation under the impression that I’d said “topless restaurant.”

Oh, tapas, tapas, tapas.

tapas everywhere (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

I made tapas with a friend from work this week. I’ve never actually made tapas before, just happily stuffed my face with them whenever I got the chance. But making them is lovely – and possibly the best sort of meal to cook with someone else who knows how to cook. We worked well together in the kitchen, each of us tackling different tasks, cutting what needed to be cut as we found it, simultaneously seasoning, adjusting burners, snacking.

And it was hard to stop snacking – whether it was on the tomato sauce growing fragrant on the stove, or bits of chorizo before they were swum in wine. We snacked on prunes and dates, olives, and wheels of roasted vegetables. And when we finished making all our tapas, we sat at the tiny kitchen table and snacked some more until our snacking made a whole meal.

bean salad with red onions and parsley (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

the tapas layout (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Patatas Bravas

Fingerling potatoes
Olive Oil
Salt
Cracked black pepper
Fresh parsley
2 medium onions
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can/jar tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup pitted green olives, halved
1 tsp. flour
1 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. paprika
Black pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste

Halve or quarter a handful of assorted fingerling potatoes (as many as you think you’ll eat). Toss them with olive oil, salt, and cracked black pepper. Arrange on a roasting pan and roast at 375 F° for about 30 minutes or until the outside of the potatoes are beautifully crispy and brown. Sprinkle freshly chopped parsley on the potatoes about 15 minutes before you take them out of the oven.

While your potatoes are roasting, prepare the tomato sauce. In a skillet, sauté onions and garlic until translucent. Add tomato sauce, chicken broth, rice wine vinegar, and olives. Slowly add flour to thicken the sauce. When the sauce begins to bubble, turn heat to low and allow to simmer. Season with sugar, black pepper, paprika, and red pepper flakes. Allow sauce to reduce until thick – add more chicken broth (or water if the sauce is too salty) if it gets too thick too quickly. Don’t rush the sauce – it takes time for all the flavors to melt together. Serve the roasted potatoes with the tomato sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley.

patatas bravas recipe (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

roast vegetable antipasta recipe (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

Roast Vegetable Antipasta
You can make this at the same time as the patatas bravas, since the oven is set to the same temperature (375 F°).

1 zucchini
1 small eggplant
1 red pepper
Olive oil
1 small onion, slivered
1 tsp. honey
Salt, to taste
1 large clove garlic, chopped
Black pepper, to taste

Slice zucchini and eggplant into medallions and halve the red pepper. Toss the vegetables with olive oil and place them on the roasting pan and roast until soft. The peppers take a while – half an hour – the thinner slices of zucchini and eggplant maybe only 15 minutes per batch. Thinly slice the vegetables and set aside in a bowl. In a skillet, sauté onion with honey and a pinch of salt until translucent. Add to sliced vegetables. Add garlic, a slip of olive oil, salt, and black pepper to the vegetables in the bowl. Toss. Allow to rest so that flavors can blend.

trio: dates in bacon, chorizo in wine, tomato sauce for patatas bravas (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

chorizo simmered in red wine (Eat Me. Drink Me.)

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4 Responses

  1. ron says:

    how did you cook the dates wrapped in bacon? that looks wonderful

  2. lyzpfister says:

    So easy – just wrap dates (and we also wrapped prunes) in bacon and stick in a 375F oven for 15 minutes until bacon is crispy. You can make it on the same tray as the patatas braves and the antipasta :)

  3. Uli says:

    Is there now Bacon in Germany ?

    • lyzpfister says:

      I know – right after I write a post about how there’s no bacon in Germany, I find bacon in Germany. Of course.

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