Recently San San from Singapore and I have started something of an impromtu spice-route. She sent me sachets of bak kut teh and instructions for making a lovely soup of long-simmered por ribs. I sent a tin of pimentón, semi-sweet, from La Vera, but, no instructions. This is remiss of me, but the thing is, I don´t use pimentón all that much. A bit of it goes into my espinacas con garbanzos, sometimes. Cocarois have a dose, too, and a dusting on hummus is lovely. But you won´t see me scattering it happy go luckily around, on migas, poached eggs, soups or salmorejos. And never, ever, in marinades. The classic Spanish adobo of oil, garlic and pimentón, delicious as it is, tends to make all meats into a sort of ersatz chorizo, I think. For fish, with some lemon thrown in, maybe. In fact, yes please, but only south of Despeñaperros.
That said, I do like its smoky depth, and the Altamira rust colour it makes on boiled potatoes that have been drizzled with oil. This mixture is usually seen on plates of pulpo a la gallega.
But pulpo is bar food, really, to be eaten with toothpicks you throw on the floor, with lots of beers and preferrably some salty sea breeze disarranging perfect coiffures (although there are plenty of Galician bars in Madrid, too).
So what I do at home is arrange the potatoes, cut in chunks (cachelos) and then boiled. Then some short, cut hand slices of boiled ham or lacón. Then the drizzle of good oil, and at last a sprinkling of pimentón. It lifts the whole from the bland to the mildly exciting. And it´s quick, easy, homely and, for all its robustness, actually quite light.