You could eat a mountain of those…
So proclaimed resident sis, having started to munch through a plateful of spicy lunch spuds. Said spuds were more-ish alright. It was a close run thing as to whether I would manage to take an acceptable photograph before having eaten them all myself. Lucky for you I did, huh?
These spicy baked potato skins were the first thing I tried from Paul Gayler’s book A Passion For Potatoes, which was recommended to me by Will from Recipe Play. I guess he had a hunch that I just might like a book with wall-to-wall potato recipes, while I, for my part, am inclined to pay attention to someone who puts Guinness in his reuben melts.
This particular recipe had caught my eye because it called for harissa paste. Harissa paste was one of the must-bring-back food souvenirs from my trip to Tunisia last year, where it is the condiment of choice. It’s a hot chili/garlic paste, usually with a few other spices thrown in. The paste that I have mentions 3 different types of chili pepper plus garlic, salt, coriander and caraway. I brought back 2 tubes of the stuff from my travels and they had, umm, languished in the cupboard. Until now. Until these. I might be running out of harissa paste soon.
Spicy Potato Skins
This is adapted slightly from Paul Gaylers original recipe for Moroccan Baked Potato Skins. I’ve used less oil and not sliced the potatoes so thickly as he suggested. I really just think of these as spicy potato wedges with the skin left on. Mightn’t sound quite as fancy, but they taste good just the same.
- About 650g-700g floury potatoes
- 1 tblsp harissa paste (or other hot chili paste)
- 0.5 tsp ground cumin
- 0.5 tsp ground coriander
- 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
- 0.25 tsp turmeric
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 50ml olive oil
- Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Optional: some grated cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top
- Preheat the oven to 220C.
- Scrub the potatoes well and remove any blemishes or dark patches on the skin.
- Slice off the skin thickly. I (tried to) cut slices such that there was at most about 1-1.5 cm of potato flesh left underneath the skin. I then cut these slices into strips maybe 1-2cm wide. Don’t worry too much about precision here, it’s not an exact science.
- Once you’ve sliced all the skin pieces off, you’ll more than likely be left with some skinless chunks of spud. Don’t waste ‘em, just slice into chips, roughly the same thickness as your potato skin pieces.
- In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, crushed garlic, harissa paste, cumin, coriander and turmeric plus a couple of twists of black pepper.
- Add all of the potato slices into the bowl with the spice mixture and toss well, then lay out on a large baking tray or a couple of smaller baking trays if that’s what you’ve got.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until golden and cooked through.
- If you fancy it, sprinkle some grated cheese on the potatoes and return to the oven for a minute or two, ’til melted and bubbling.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle with coarse salt to taste and eat. These would be particularly good with sour cream or a yoghurt-based dip.
- You could really substitute the chili of your choice into this or maybe use some smoked paprika in place of the harissa.
- You would think that this amount would be enough for 3 portions but 2 of us scoffed the lot for lunch. To, er, balance out the spuds, we also had a vastly healthier celery/apple/walnut salad with a lemony yoghurty dressing, which meant we didn’t feel quite as bad about eating so many spuds.