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Spud Sunday: Spicy Skins

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?

Spicy potato skins

How many could you eat?

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.

Harissa and assorted other Tunisian spices

Harissa and friends

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.

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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.

Spicy potato skins

You’ll need:
  • 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
The Steps:
  • 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.
The Variations:
  • You could really substitute the chili of your choice into this or maybe use some smoked paprika in place of the harissa.
The Results:
  • 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.

Update: Because I let things get away from me somewhat, this post is rather belatedly going out to the Potato Ho Down, being hosted this month by Donalyn from dlyn on April 15th. Didn’t want to miss it!


  1. noble pig

    Oh my word, these sound like the perfect dish. What a way to serve the tuber.

  2. Heather

    oh my god. those sound amazing. i have already emailed them to a friend to suggest we try them!!!

  3. Tangled Noodle

    How many can I eat? As many as you can make! How did you get them so golden and crispy-looking? Whenever I make oven-baked potatoes, they’re either soggy or burned to a crisp (and not the kind that comes in a crinkly bag). I’ve never tried harissa paste so I’ll be sure to be on the look out for it. Finally, that’s a beautiful photo of the bins of spices – please tell us more about your trip to Tunisia some time!

  4. greg

    I could eat a mountain of these and I have! GREG

  5. Daily Spud

    noble pig: …and I exist to serve the tuber in such ways :)

    Heather: enjoy!

    Tangled Noodle: the tumeric in the spice mix definitely helps with the golden colour; on the crispy/soggy thing, the variety of potato will have some bearing on that – waxy spuds have a higher water content and so are less suited for baking/roasting; as for Tunisia, I shall perhaps get to that sometime, though it may lead me to talk about the whole “getting bitten by a camel” incident (the day where I was the food and not the foodie, so to speak!)

    greg: I do not doubt but that you have!

  6. Reeni

    I could eat as many as you can make!! These are over the top!

  7. Sophie

    I never had potato skins alone before!! i will try them!! Paul gayler’s recipes never fail!! The picture looks appetzing!!

  8. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie

    ooo, spicy and cheesy – perfect! Those spices sound so good with the potato skins! I just made potato chips with smoked paprika to go with a special dish I will post on April 1.

  9. will

    Indeed you have helped me to realize that Guinness goes well with nearly everything. Glad you’re enjoying the book!I could have used these yesterday after a “roaring twenties” party the night before. How anyone could ever drink champagne mixed with Gin all night is a mystery to me.

    I’d really like to try the pan fried potato and fruit terrine on page 91. This book is sort of amazing.

    Thanks for much for the mention of the patty melt! I’ve now moved on to hash in order to rid myself of the last of the corned beef.

  10. zerrin

    The photo is so hearty that I can eat all of them. I’ll be searching for harissa in our spice shop next time.

  11. Angry Brit

    My parents just got back from Tunisia. I don’t believe they brought me any harissa. Humph. I do something similar with just salt and pepper, but I love the complex flavours that yours have.

  12. The Duo Dishes

    Harissa…that’s something we should invest in. You’ve got some good stuff going on with those potatoes.

  13. kickpleat

    Spicy potatoes? And with cheese on top? Oh my! Sounds delicious.

  14. Daily Spud

    Reeni: I guess I’m going to be making a lot of these, right? :)

    Sophie: ah, potato skins are indeed good (as is Paul Gayler, methinks)!

    Natasha: even as I was making them, I definitely thought I should try the smoked paprika variation, I just know that would be good too

    Will: these would definitely suit the dietary requirements of someone who had been drinking gin, champagne or even Guinness (but preferably not all three!) the night before :)

    zerrin: I’ll be using harissa for this and other things, now that I had reminded myself of how good it is!

    Angry Brit: parents, huh? while there’s nothing wrong with just the salt n pepper version, I do like the spicy kick here

    Duo Dishes: even spuds need a little spice in their lives from time to time :)

    kickpleat: yeah, it’s good I tell ya

  15. Jenni

    Good lord, those look fabulous! I could probably eat about a billion of them:D Kudos to Will for giving you the heads up on the Spud Book, too!

  16. Maggie

    These look really addictive! I love the photo of the spice market.

  17. Chef E

    I will say that I always made my own creations in my cafe, but if I had seen this post, then it would be blog hijacking at its best! I love spicy along side any food, especially spuds my dear!

  18. Daily Spud

    Jenni: A billion? I’ll remember to get in a lot of spuds whenever you come visiting :)

    Maggie: thanks! and I can confirm that they are addictive :)

    Chef E: spicy+spuds is so good – you would of course be welcome to hijack away!

  19. vincent


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    Best regards,


  20. The Other Tiger

    Oh, these sound delicious! I love harissa.

  21. manuel

    fourteen…….I could eat fourteen…..maybe more…..man they look delish….


    send us yer desk…..must see yer desk…..


  22. Daily Spud

    vincent: ooh la la, I’ll check petitchef out!

    Other Tiger: I am so glad that this reminded me of how good harissa is, yum

    Manuel: fourteen? would ya not have a few more than that lad, I’ll be making about a billion of them if previous requests are anything to go by! And I do intend to show ya me desk, the Spud will be in touch…

  23. OysterCulture

    holy cow – don’t stop by for a day or so and you have to deliver something like this. Harissa is one of my all time favorite spicy sauces – I make a mean potato/tuna roll, which supposed hails from Tunisa. When I make the potatoes to put in the roll, I always make extra so I can top them with harissa, so I have a sneaking suspicious as to how good your potatoes are. Cannot wait to try. The good thing about your recipes is tha I stay in shape as I have to dash off to the neigborhood market for the ingredients.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

  24. Iisha

    Harrisa huh? I’ve never heard of it, but I’m SURE if it taste good with taters, you’re the person who would know it. They look deicious, and I’m with you for needing to hurry and take pics sometimes. I wasn’t able post a few posts for that very reason.

    Oh… and guiness on a reuben sounds DE-LIGHT-FUL!

  25. Joie de vivre

    I couldn’t eat a mountain of them, but I would sure enjoy the few that I did have!

  26. Sapuche

    That photograph is more than acceptable! And I could eat a mountain of them, too, no problemo. The issue for me will be whether or not I can locate harissa paste without traveling to Tunisia…

  27. Sophie

    Hi, I just gave you an award!! The friends award!!! Why??? Check out my latest post : my 3rd award!!

  28. Marybakes

    These look delicious!!Now I’m hungry. Potato skins are one of those foods that I could just eat unlimited amounts of yum!

  29. Daily Spud

    OysterCulture: glad I can keep you in shape and on your toes :) – meanwhile, a potato/tuna roll with harissa does sound mighty good…

    lisha: thanks and, take my word for it, it does taste good with taters!

    Joie de Vivre: enjoy them you would I’m sure!

    Sapuche: perhaps harissa has made it to Hawaii, I can confirm that it has at least made it as far as Ireland!

    Sophie: thanks, that’s so sweet of you my friend :)

    Marybakes: thanks and welcome! nice to see a new Irish food blogger – will be dropping by to take a look…

  30. The Diva on a Diet

    Oh man, I think I’m in love! I adore harissa and what an awesome way to use it. Well done, Spud, they look amazing.

    So glad you found me … so that I could find you. Love your blog. Fair warning … I’ll be back! ;)

  31. manuel

    can I have my 14 now……freaking starving…had 197 doctors for dinner and I got nowt but a hand full of stolen champ……sake….

  32. Daily Spud

    Diva: Very glad to have found you (via Tangled Noodle) and you can be sure that you haven’t heard the last of me either :)

    Manuel: I feel your hunger pangs, really I do. I’ll beam the 14 up to you forthwith. I hope they survive the trekkie transporter trip…

  33. aoife mc

    I am soooo trying these, they look InCREDible!

  34. megan (brooklyn farmhouse)

    I could eat a 100. Your blog is brilliant, did I ever tell you that?

  35. Daily Spud

    aoife mc: enjoy!

    megan: awww, thanks, I blush! I’ll have to make at least 100 of these for you so :)

  36. Jamie

    These look amazing and I could eats lots of them. I live in France where harissa is available in every shop and super market. Lucky me, cause these are worth making!

  37. Daily Spud

    Thanks so much for dropping in Jamie! You are very lucky indeed to be living near a ready supply of harissa, one of the many advantages of living in France I would imagine :)

  38. elra

    Loving the title already. Delicious.

  39. Daily Spud

    Thanks Elra!

  40. Blender Benefits

    I just found what I’m making for new years :-)!

  41. Daily Spud

    Blender Benefits: enjoy!

  42. Restaurant Deals

    This recipe is so good! Going to go down the the supermarket this afternoon and get the ingredients for this. Mouth watering already! This sounds like restaurant food.

  43. Daily Spud

    Restaurant Deals: put it this way, I wouldn’t complain if I were served this in a restaurant :)

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