“smoked” fingerling potatoes

4    |   
Prep Time:
10 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
50 minutes

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We went to Santa Cruz this weekend to watch the local high school surfing contest (how California is that?). The night before, we had dinner at a shared-plates restaurant and the smoked fingerling potatoes were so good, we were fighting over them. Since I didn’t want to hog them, I had to recreate them as soon as I got home. Here’s how it goes: roast potatoes with olive oil and smoked paprika; whip up a mock aioli with bottled mayo, garlic and more paprika; then serve the potatoes poking out of a ramekin like logs in a basket. The restaurant puts the aioli in the bottom of the dishes so the potatoes are “pre-dipped,” which is quite democratic. At home, I paired them with roasted fennel and shrimp. With a cold beer, a smoky Syrah or a margarita for Cinco de Mayo, it’s dinner worth fighting over.

smoked potatoes


1-1/2 lbs fingerling potatoes
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (see note)

quick aioli
2 rounded tablespoons mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika (see note)
1 small clove garlic, pressed


Preheat an oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut potatoes in halves lengthwise. Place potatoes in a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil. Sprinkle in the salt and smoked paprika and toss until the paprika is completely blended with the oil. Spread potatoes on baking sheet with cut sides down. Roast until golden brown and crispy, 45 to 50 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the aioli by stirring together the mayonnaise, smoked paprika, and garlic in a small bowl.

To serve, either divide the potatoes among ramekins, placing them vertically, and offer the aioli alongside for dipping, or divide the aioli among the ramekins, spooning it into the bottom of the dishes, then fill ramekins with the potatoes. Serve hot.

note: the best smoked paprika comes from the La Vera region of Spain and is labeled “pimentón.” It comes in pretty little tins in either sweet (dulce), hot (picante), or medium (agridulce). I use dulce. There are also national brands of smoked paprika available now in most supermarkets. If you don’t like smoked paprika, use regular paprika.