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If there was any spice with a more complicated history or confusing categorization, it must be paprika. Paprika is made from the Capsicum annuum plant, which sounds simple enough. However, there are dozens of varieties of this pepper – both chile and bell. Yet, genetically, they’re all the same species. (Think of it in the way all people are human, but look very different from each other.)
Paprika is technically native to North and Central America and was used by the indigenous peoples as a food and as a coloring agent. Spanish explorers became enamored with the plant and brought it back to Spain along with tomatoes, potatoes, and other produce. The Spanish – particularly the lower classes, as the heat of paprika was considered undignified by the rich – began using the seeds in food preparation.
The seeds spread past Iberia to Turkey and throughout the Ottoman Empire, as well as throughout Europe to the Balkan countries and Russia. Later on it became endeared by India and the Middle East. And, of course, each country began breeding it to their tastes; the Spanish by smoking it, the Turks preferring hotter varieties, and the Hungarians loved it sweet and mild. Hungary and Spain, however, are the major producers of paprika, with the United States as a distant third.
Smoked sweet paprika is very popular in Mexico and Spain.
This authentic smoked Spanish paprika is roasted over an oak fire to give it a deep, rich, smoky flavor and a vibrant red color.
Also known as Pimentón de la Vera, Smoked Spanish paprika is extremely versatile and enhances an endless number of dishes. Smoked Spanish Paprika is good for creating authentic Spanish dishes, or try adding it to any number of foods to lend delightful smokey notes without adding spice.
It is especially useful in vegetarian dishes to add a bit of “meaty” flavor – try it on beans, lentils, or even tofu. Once you add it to your pantry, you’ll find yourself using it everywhere!
Smoked paprika is used for marinating vegetables, meat, shish kebab, for grilling vegetables and poultry on the grill, grill, for making soups, for frying.
Also, smoked paprika can be added to pastries, for example, in bakery products, in stuffing for pies and patties.
Used as a spice in Middle Eastern cuisine to add lemony taste to salads or meat. This wonderful and unique spice can add a little zing to salad dressings, fish, chicken and even can substitute for lemon juice. An easy way to use sumac is by dusting them on some potatoes with a little garlic and olive oil.