Patatas revolconas or potato mash with pimentón and fried pork rinds is one of the simplest tapa there is, coarsely mashed potatoes seasoned with one of the staples in the kitchens of Spain, pimentón, powdered dry and smoked red pepper, and garnished with fried pork rinds. It is typical in the regions of Castilla y León and Extremadura, but not only.
Do you know that potatoes come from the Peruvian Andes region and were brought to Europe by the Spanish conquerors after the discovery of America?
As we are told in the Smithsonian Magazine:
The first Spaniards in the region—the band led by Francisco Pizarro, who landed in 1532—noticed Indians eating these strange, round objects and emulated them, often reluctantly. News of the new food spread rapidly. Within three decades, Spanish farmers as far away as the Canary Islands were exporting potatoes to France and the Netherlands (which were then part of the Spanish empire).
Pimentón, the Spanish paprika, is like no other variety. The paprika popular in Eastern Europe countries is sweet while Spanish paprika has a well-known smokiness.
According to Spanish Sabores:
From the type of peppers to the smoking and milling methods, the recipe for making Spanish pimentón has been guarded for hundreds of years.
Paprika is so vital to Spanish cuisine that its production is regulated by quality-control Denomination of Origin boards. There are two main paprika making regions in Spain, La Vera in Extremadura and Murcia. Both regions are under D.O. control to ensure that the centuries-old process of growing, smoking and grinding the peppers is precisely followed.
Let’s make some proper patatas revolconas.
- 3 medium potatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt to taste
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tbsp sweet pimentón (or medium hot)
- Virgin olive oil to taste
- Skin the potatoes, cut them in large chunks and boil or steam until fork-tender. Salt thoroughly.
- While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the pork rinds; cut into strips. They can be grilled in the oven or stir-fried in a pan with a glug of olive oil. Choose whatever you prefer.
- When cooked through and crispy, set aside and keep warm.
- Peel and mash the garlic clove in a mortar.
- When the potatoes are tender, set aside in their cooking liquid.
- Cover the bottom of a medium pan with extra virgin olive oil, heat to medium and stir-fry the mashed garlic, just 1-2 minutes.
- Add the pimentón and stir for a minute, not longer as the pimentón develops a bitter taste when overcooked.
- Add the drained potatoes to the pan and quickly mash them with a wooden spoon while mixing with the garlicky oil and the pimentón, until you obtain a coarse mash or purée.
- Adjust the seasoning if needed.
- Serve on a single plate or several small plates. Garnish with the warm pork rinds and serve immediately.
Tips for perfect patatas revolconas
- Mostly any kind of potato is good for this tapa as there is no need for the coarse mash to get really thick nor creamy. Use whichever potato you have at hand.
- Potatoes can be either steamed or boiled. We personally favor steaming because the potato absorbs less liquid than if steamed.
- The garlic flavor in this tapa is noticeable, but not strong. If you’re not a big fan of garlic though, just halve the amount.
- As pointed out in the recipe introduction, the flavor of Spanish pimentón, either sweet or hot, is unlike any other paprika powder, so we recommend you to try and find some of the real stuff to use not only in these patatas revolconas, but in a lot of other tapas in this blog like migas de pastor or sopas de ajo.
- We’d like to stress that pimentón is a delicate ingredient that must not be overfried because it develops an unpleasant bitter flavor.
This tapa of patatas revolconas, potato mash with pimentón and pork rinds is simple peasant fare like most of the traditional tapas of Spain, where the most expensive ingredient was the pork rind, probably coming from the family slaughtered pork. Perfect for a chilly weekend brunch with a glass of Spanish red wine.