Oooh, Spanish smoked paprika – it seems the world has discovered you! This is one of my favourite spices and I use it quite often in my cooking. Formally known as Pimentón de la Vera, this spice has a Protected Designated of Origin in the EU, which means that only the spice produced in Vera can be named as such. There’s also a Pimentón de Murcia (also with its own PDO), which is not smoked but roasted in the sun instead; I haven’t tried that one but am now keen! You might need to head to a specialty Spanish shop for it but it’s likely that when you get there, you’ll coo over all the adorable, colourful, little tins available. There are a couple of heat grades available; I’ve got one each of the mild and hot. Of course, when buying pimentón in Spain, you get a huge tin for not very much. My two tins have lasted me well over a year so far!

Mark Bittman of the New York Times recently blogged about it and the comments from readers provide a fabulous list of various ways in which to use the spice. Its most common usage in my household is with roast potatoes, wedges being my current favourite “shape”. I’m providing a recipe below but feel free to modify the shape, the number of potatoes, the amount of pimentón to your taste!

Results will vary depending on your potato type. I’ve had wedges that fell apart or stayed too moist or stuck vehemently to the baking tray. While I haven’t experimented with all the potato variesties out there, I’ve never failed with the Rooster potatoes from the supermarkets. Sweet potatoes are also fantastic with pimentón, the spicy smokiness blending with the sweet.

Pimenton Potato Wedges

Pimentón Potato Wedges

Line a baking tray or roasting tin with baking paper (they seem to stick less with this rather than foil). Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Scrub the potatoes clean, dry them of excess water and then slice them into wedges. I find it easiest to slice each potato into half and then slice each half into wedges. Toss them all into a large zip lock bag. Pour in some olive oil, a large pinch of salt, a good grind or ten of black pepper, and about a teaspoon or two of pimentón, sweet or hot or a mixture. Zip up the bag and give it a good toss around until everything is coated.

Pour the mixture onto the baking tray or roasting tin and try to lay them out in a single layer but it doesn’t hurt if they overlap a little. Roast them until they’re quite dry, turning the wedges once midway. This should take 40-50 minutes altogether, depending on the potato.

Serve! These are delicious by themselves or with a chili dipping sauce. Or try them as a side to some grilled steak – yum!

I’m submitting this post to the “think spice” meme this month as it’s on….paprika! It’s currently being hosted by Mimi on the Move. A full list of previous “think spice” events can be found on Sunita’s world.