Patatas a la importancia is a classic recipe from the north of Spain. I would translate the name of this dish as potatoes a la important, which is such a fun name that my British friends always ask if I made up the name. However, this is the real name of this dish, and it probably means that potatoes, which usually are a side, become the centre of the recipe, hence they become important.
As I’m from the south of Spain, this is a dish that is not very well known to me. The first time that I cook it was to record this video. The recipe is so easy that it went great the first time, so I definitely encourage you to try it. On the other hand, a friend who is from the north of Spain told me that I sliced the potatoes too thin. He would have made them in only 3 or 4 slices for each potatoes (much thicker that what I did).
Peel and wash the potatoes before slicing them in slices about 1cm thick, or thicker if you wish.
- Batter the potatoes. In Spanish cuisine, you don’t mix the batter ingredients. You set them separately and then dip the food on them, one by one, in their right order. In this case, place some plain flour on one plate, and two whisked eggs in a bowl.
- Flour a potato slice and then dip it on the egg. Do this with all the slices.
- On a deep fat fryer, or on a pan with a lot of frying oil, warm the oil up until it is very hot (180C). If you don’t have a thermometer, you can tell that the olive oil is hot enough because it will form some bubbles around the potato slice once you drop it.
- Fry the potatoes until golden. They don’t need to be completely done, because we will keep simmer them later on.
- Remove the potatoes from the pan and set them aside.
- Crush the garlic, saffron, parsley and salt
- Chop the onion into small pieces
- Warm up a deep frying pan, or a pot, and once it is hot, add the 3 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and saute the onion.
- Once the onion is ready, add a tbsp of plain flour and quick stir
- Add the crushed ingredients and stir it again
- Add the white wine and leave it to cook for about two minutes, so it loses all its alcohol
- Place the potatoes slices over the onion and add enough chicken stock to cover the potatoes. If you don’t have chicken stock, you can also use water.
- Once the stock comes to boil, down the fire so the potatoes simmer for 30 minutes.
- When all the stock is gone, check that the potatoes are tender. If they are not quite ready, you can add a bit of stock or water and keep cooking until they are ready to serve.
Pro tips for this recipe!
If you have a nice pan, you can serve the potatoes on the very same pan where you cooked them. In the olden times, they would be cooked over a terracotta pan and taken straight to the table. You can also transfer the potatoes to a smaller or more beautiful dish, trying not to break them.
This traditional recipe is great for those who want to get into Spanish cooking because it covers all the techniques that are used in Spanish cuisine: frying, sauté and simmering. It only needs humble, easy to find ingredients, and it tastes great!