When chef Caroline Glover traveled to Spain a few years ago, she ate roughly 20 varieties of papatas bravas in just 10 days.
She recalls: "Twenty might even be a modest guess. In Spain, they make it two ways: one version is with a red tomato sauce and the other comes with aioli. I loved both equally."
Indeed, she enjoyed them so wholeheartedly that when she created the octopus patatas bravas dish for her new restaurant Annette, she blended the two traditional versions. "When we first made this, we used maybe half the amount of sauce," Glover says. "But the sauce makes the whole dish! So we are much more generous with it now."
The dish is built around three key ingredients: the oiled and wood-fire grilled octopus, the perfectly crunchy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside potatoes, and of course, the sauces. Both made in-house: the aioli with roasted garlic, egg yolks, and mustard, and the romesco with almond, piquillo and ancho peppers.
After some thorough trial and error – roughly 20 variations in Spain and 15 in America – she landed on Nicola potatoes from Rocky Mountain Farms. "We tried at least 15 variations of these potatoes before we felt like we got them right," Glover says. "We are such a small kitchen and we intentionally keep our menu small. I want everything to reflect the season and I also want to feel proud of every single item I serve."
Glover continued: "That’s why you’ll see some crossover on our menu too. We want to utilize the things we do well in other dishes. You’ll find a lot of the same flavors in our octopus sandwich. It’s made with the same aioli and it’s just as popular."
Opened in late 2016, Glover's restaurant was named for her "feisty and brilliant Aunt Nestie." Though she didn't learn to cook from her aunt, Glover says her tamales and martinis were dazzling.
She describes Annette as small, simple and seasonal. And that’s also a great description for her octopus patatas bravas.
Menu items may change with the seasons, so try this dish soon. Annette is open Tuesday through Sunday, located inside Stanley Marketplace.