This simple Spanish potato salad is one of the most popular tapas in Cadiz. You can find many variations of this Andalusian potato salad offered at any café or bar, ready to serve, any time of day. It’s made with simple ingredients, one of which being sherry vinegar, which is produced in the nearby city of Jerez.
My favourite version of classic Patatas Aliñadas (also called Papas Aliñás) features tomatoes, lots of sweet white onion and a deliciously simple dressing. But if you are visiting Cadiz, then you can expect to find Patatas Aliñadas served topped with tuna in oil, hard-boiled eggs cut into wedges, or even olives. Other traditional versions are very humble with just some local potatoes, onion and a good dressing, nothing more.
Patatas Aliñadas relies on quality ingredients
Being a recipe with such a short list of simple ingredients, it is recommend that everything be of very good quality. Fresh, local potatoes, a good extra virgin olive oil and a good sherry vinegar. This also goes for the add-ins. Choose flavourful tomatoes and a fresh spring onion (or sweet white onion). These details will make the difference between a standard seasoned potato salad and something spectacular.
Adapting this Spanish Potato Salad
As with the original Papas Aliñás tapa, there are countless ways to adapt this salad. The basics stay the same, potatoes, olive oil and sherry vinegar, however everything else can be tweaked to make it your own. Here are a few ideas:
- Use chives in place of sweet white onion
- Try adding a mix of soft herbs
- Add some diced pointed green or red pepper for freshness and crunch
- Top the potato salad with large pieces of the tuna packed in oil
- Skip the tomatoes and toss the salad with 100 g thinly sliced and diced prosciutto
- Throw in a handful of pitted green or black olives (or try a can of El Faro stuffed green olives)
- Top with hard-boiled eggs, cut into wedges
- Serve over a bed of young arugula leaves and top with a fried egg for a complete meal
Otherwise, enjoy as is, served warm or at room temperature. This full-flavored and hearty salad is a great choice for summer meals and pairs well with grilled meats or other salads.
Looking for other potato salad recipe ideas?
Try one of these favourite summer salads:
- Mediterranean Potato Salad with Mustard and Capers
- Easy Potato Salad Recipe (without Mayo)
- Green Bean Potato Salad
- German Potato Salad with Cucumber
Spanish Potato Salad (Patatas Aliñadas)
- 1 kg waxy potatoes, scrubbed clean
- 4 tablespoons sherry vinegar, alternatively unseasoned rice vinegar (60 ml)
- 5 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (80 ml)
- 3-4 spring onions, diced (white and light green parts) (or 2 small sweet white onions, 125 g)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 150 g cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more to garnish
Place the potatoes in a large pot, and cover with generously-salted cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat slightly and cook until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife, 15- 20 minutes (depending on size).
Drain and while still warm, use a paring knife to peel away the potato skins; discard. Cut the potatoes into slices or quarters, and transfer to a large serving bowl.
Add the vinegar, olive oil and onion to the potatoes, season with salt and pepper and toss gently until well combined. Add the tomatoes and parsley and toss again to incorporate. Taste and adjust the seasoning, as desired.
Serve warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
- It is important to dress the potatoes when they are still warm so that the potatoes can absorb the flavours from the dressing.
- Sherry vinegar is a has a unique and complex taste that is delicately sweet and nutty. It's made from the Spanish fortified wine (sherry), and has a slightly softer acidic bite to it than red or white wine vinegar. If you don't have it on hand, I find that unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar is the best subsitute. Alternatively, if you are a big of apple cider vinegar, try using that (starting with 2-3 tablespoons and then adjusting to taste).
- To remove some of the bitterness from the oonions you can soak them in vinegar or water. In a small bowl, combine the diced onion and the sherry vinegar; set aside for 15 minutes before adding to the salad. Alternatively, you can also do this by soaking them in a small bowl of cold water and then drain the onion and pat dry with a paper towel before adding to the potato salad.
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