Smoked paprika-made by smoking red peppers before pulverizing-is just one of the paprika varieties used in so many Spanish dishes. Because cooking it for a long time mutes its earthy taste, we sprinkle it on the hot potatoes during the last few minutes of roasting, then again right after they come out of the oven. The lemon mayo is our easy take on the garlicky, lemony aioli that is often served with the classic Spanish tapas dish "patatas bravas." If you have saffron on hand, bloom pinch in a spoonful or so of warm water before whisking it into the mayonnaise.
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Put the oil on a large rimmed baking sheet. Heat the pan in the oven for 5 minutes.
Carefully, put the potatoes on the hot pan-they should sizzle-and turn with tongs or a spatula to coat with oil. Spread the potatoes so they are not touching and cook until tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the paprika with the salt and set aside. Zest the lemon, squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice, and whisk both into the mayonnaise, reserving a tiny bit of zest. Put the mixture into a little bowl, sprinkle the reserved zest on top and set aside.
Sprinkle the potatoes with most of the paprika mixture, tossing to coat. Return the potatoes to the oven and roast for 2 minutes more. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle with the remaining paprika mix. Serve immediately with the lemon mayonnaise.
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