Want to recreate your holiday patatas bravas at home? Now you can

Even if you’re not heading away, enjoy these dishes from faraway places

Patatas bravas with a picada twist.

Patatas bravas with a picada twist.

 

It’s that time of year again and for most small restaurant owners, summer means we go into complete lockdown. While other people might be spending the summer season obsessing about their beach bodies, we are eyeing up breathable work wear and socks, and good solid shoes that will stand up to a 12-hour shift. Our main goal is trying to keep our thighs from rubbing together in a hot kitchen.

So at the end of a long shift, thank goodness for Instagram and other people’s foodie holiday photographs. Without leaving the kitchen it’s possible to virtually visit Portugal or France, or join the cool kids in Copenhagen going out on picnics and drinking natural wines.

You can watch the clever people who head off on staycations to places such as Roundstone or Ennistymon, those great spots dotted around this wonderful island that on a sunny day turns into heaven on earth.

To go along with the virtual travel, here are some recipes that are powerful reminders of summer holidays in sunny places, so that even if you’re not heading away, you can enjoy the memories as you eat them at home.

One of my food heroes when I started cooking was the 1990s legend, Australian chef Neil Perry. I still make his salt and pepper squid, it is a winner, especially with this patatas bravas dish.

Which brings me to my number one big hitter, the pissaladière, a swooney French onion tart with big, fat anchovies and olives. I take Nigel Slater’s lead in this one and make it with puff pastry instead of a traditional dough as I feel it is lighter for the hotter weather. This tart is excellent served with ripe heirloom tomatoes.

PATATAS BRAVAS WITH A PICADA TWIST

Patatas bravas with a picada twist.
Patatas bravas with a picada twist.

Serves 4
Ingredients
For the picada:
50g walnuts
1tsp chilli flakes
40ml olive oil
2tsp harissa
½tsp ground fennel seeds
Small handful of parsley, chopped
5 anchovy fillets, very finely chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Flaky sea salt, black pepper

For the potatoes:
800g new season potatoes or Maris Pipers
20ml olive oil
Salt and pepper
Crème fraiche to serve

Method
1
For the picada, scatter the walnuts on a baking tray and coat with half of the olive oil. Add harissa, chilli flakes and ground fennel.

2 Place in a preheated oven at 200 degrees Celsius, or equivalent, for 10 minutes until the walnuts have turned golden brown. Remove from oven and allow them to cool.

3 Add to the walnuts the parsley, anchovies, lemon zest and garlic, salt and pepper, and the remaining olive oil, and set aside.

4 In a large saucepan add your potatoes and cover with cold water.

5 Place on a high heat until boiling, then turn them down to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, until they are tender when a fork is inserted.

6 Drain and place potatoes on a baking tray. Place another baking tray on top of the spuds and press down to smash them. You could also use the back of a spoon or your palm to crush them.

7 Generously coat the spuds in olive oil, salt and pepper. Put them in the 200 degree Celsius oven for 15-20 minutes until they are crisp and golden brown.

8 Put the potatoes on a serving dish on top of a dollop of the crème fraiche and scatter the picada all over.

SALT AND PEPPER SQUID WITH GOCHUJANG AIOLI

Salt and pepper squid with gochujang aioli.
Salt and pepper squid with gochujang aioli.

Serves 4
Ingredients
4 squid tubes, cleaned and sliced into rings
30g rice flour
10g cornflour
1tsp baking powder
2tsp salt
2tsp black pepper
300ml vegetable oil for shallow frying, or use a deep fat fryer

For the gochujang aioli:
2 large egg yolks
2tsp gochujang pepper paste (a sweet and spicy Korean condiment)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
10ml cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
250ml olive oil

Method
1
To make the aioli, add the yolks, vinegar, gochujang and garlic to a blender.

2 Blend on high for 30 seconds and then reduce speed to a medium to low speed.

3 Slowly and in a steady stream, pour the oil into the blender. The oil should slowly incorporate with the egg yolks and emulsify, creating a mayonnaise.

4 Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

5 Now for the squid. In a deep frying pan or saucepan add the vegetable oil and put on a high heat ready for frying.

6 Place all your dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well.

7 Add the squid rings and coat in the dry mixture.

8 Place the coated squid in the hot oil, taking care as the oil could spatter. Fry for three to five minutes, until a light golden colour appears.

9 Remove the squid from the oil using a slotted spoon and place on a kitchen towel lined plate. Season with salt and pepper.

10 Serve immediately with the gochujang aioli.

PISSALADIÈRE WITH PICKLED WALNUTS

Pissaladière with pickled walnuts.
Pissaladière with pickled walnuts.

Serves 4
Ingredients
1 sheet of ready to roll puff pastry
2 white onions, thinly sliced
100g butter
1 garlic clove, chopped
30ml white wine
1 jar good quality anchovies
Handful black olives, such as kalamatas
1 jar of pickled walnuts, thinly sliced
1 small log of goat’s cheese, sliced
Handful of flatleaf parsley, torn for garnish
Salt and pepper

Method
1
Start with the onions. Using a heavy bottomed pan and a small bit of olive oil, add the onions and garlic and let them start to sweat down. After three minutes add the white wine, salt and pepper. Cook for a further three minutes and then add the butter. Continue to sweat the onions for 20 minutes until light brown in colour and very soft to touch.

2 Remove from the heat and set aside.

3 Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

4 Line a baking tray with parchment and place the puff pastry on it. Score a border around the outside, about 1cm in from the edges, taking care not to cut right through the pastry. Bake blind (with parchment paper over the pastry and baking beans keeping it in place) for 18-20 minutes.

5 Remove from the oven and carefully push down the middle that may have risen in the oven. Get rid of the parchment and baking beans.

6 Cover the centre of the tart with the onions, then scatter the anchovies, olives and walnuts evenly on top. Place the goat’s cheese slices on top and bake again for a further 10 minutes, until the cheese is nicely melted.

7 Slice into small squares and serve with salad.

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