I first discovered smoked Spanish paprika at a Dean and Delucas in New York City in 2005. Since then, it has become one of my favorite seasonings. I find I’m reaching for this fragrant spice to add a warm smoky sweetness to almost everything. I dust it over deviled eggs and sprinkle it in fried potatoes. It enhances a creamy dip for shrimp and is equally enticing in a rub on grilled steaks. I substitute it for regular paprika in my beef goulash and just enjoyed it in a vinaigrette recipe.
Smoked Spanish paprika (often referred to as simply smoked paprika or pimentón) has made frequent appearances on the culinary scene in the last couple of years. It’s on the hot list of trendy foods for 2011 and our customers are voting for it with their purchases. Take a look at a current food magazine or cookbook and chances are that this ingredient will appear. So what’s the allure of this particular paprika?
The smoking process makes all the difference. The red peppers are slowly dried on racks over the smoldering fires of oak for several weeks and then stone ground. The result is a beautifully smoky, brick-red powder whose flavor is nothing like the regular paprika in your spice rack. Most of the smoked paprika sold is the sweet (dulce) variety; however it comes in two hotter versions as well.
This seasoning is essential for authentic Spanish flavor in dishes like paella and chorizo, but its uses are almost limitless. Try smoked paprika in our easy appetizer recipe for Serrano Wrapped Shrimp with Smoked Paprika Dip. Get inspired with Oven Roasted Potatoes with Manchego and Spanish Spice Rubbed Steaks with Valdéon Butter, both partnering smoked paprika with signature Spanish cheeses. What are your favorite ways to use smoked paprika?
Merrilyn Tauscher, FoodE Manager