The only thing better than a good recipe? When something is so easy to do that you don’t even need one. Welcome to As simple as that, a column where we walk you through the process of making food and drink that we can make with our eyes closed.
Central Spain, with its brutal winters and wide fertile plains, has some spectacular comfort dishes. There are hearty bean stews with game, flintstone-sized black steaks Aliveña beefand snappy chorizo sausages that make hot, heavenly juices bubble up. But for me, an American in Madrid with a thing for mashed potatoes, no dish on a cold, stormy day is as satisfying as patatas revolconas.
Patatas revolconas come from four inland provinces west of Madrid: Salamanca, Ávila, Toledo and Cáceres. They are garlicky, smoky with pimentón and intoxicating with bacon fat and olive oil – the typical flavors of central Spain in one bite. not as mild butter and cream purees Those spuds that grace many Thanksgiving tables are chunky, bold, flavorful, and downright dazzling to look at – deep, bright orange like a bloody sunset. And as if all that rich, potato goodness wasn’t enough, the dish ends with a handful of torreznos (rinds) that are fried so crispy it’s practically onomatopoeic. Some (okay, me) even double the LDL with a runny fried egg.
In the six years I’ve lived in Spain, Patatas Revolconas have been my first choice for many beer-soaked tapas. I always thought of them as bar food – until a friend gave me a pound of pimentón from his village in Extremadura last month. From the moment I put my nose in my pocket, I couldn’t get rid of the desire: Quiero revolconas. The problem was, I had no idea how to do it.
So I found myself zigzagging up the Sierra de Guadarrama to a centuries-old taberna called Restaurante Santa María, which, according to all reports, is one of the dreamiest revolconas in the world. “Patatas revolconas are mountain food,” said Pablo Barrera, the fourth generation owner. “Good pork, good potatoes, good allspice – the ingredients are nothing out of the ordinary.” (To be fair, Americans won’t be able to find real papada adobada – seasoned pork cheeks and Barrera’s handpicked meat for the crispy pieces – but bacon is a good substitute.) The secret of turning off revolconas, Barrera told me is how these ingredients are combined. So he had to cook and I had to doodle.
To make four liberal servings, peel 2 pounds of medium Yukon Gold potatoes and put them in a saucepan. Add 2 peeled garlic cloves, 3 TBSP. kosher salt, 1 Bay leafand enough water to cover 2 “. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then simmer over medium-low heat for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are easy to pierce with a knife. Turn off the heat and leave The potatoes in the pot (we’ll need the liquid later).
Place while the potatoes are boiling ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil in a large cold pan or in a wok. Add 1¼ pound platter of bacon Cut into rectangular, thumb-sized batons and place over medium heat. Fry, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the bacon is translucent and the fat begins to render. Turn the heat up to medium, continue frying for 10 minutes (the bacon should now be light golden), then medium high to cook until the strips are deep brown and crispy all over, about 10 minutes longer. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels with a slotted spoon.