Chef’s Tip: July 2015

Chef’s Tip: July 2015

Paprika: sweet vs. smoked

Paprika is a fine powder made from grinding the pods of various kinds of Capsicum annuum peppers. Used for flavour and colour, it is the fourth most consumed spice in the world! It is often used in dry rubs, marinades, stews, chillis, and as a garnish. Depending on the variety of pepper and how it is processed, the colour can range from bright red to brown and the flavour from mild to spicy.

Although generally less intense that Hungarian paprika, Spanish paprika ranges from dulce (sweet and mild) to agridulce (bittersweet and medium hot) to picante (hot), depending on the type of peppers used (round or long), whether the seeds are removed, and how they are processed. In Spain’s La Vera region, farmers harvest and dry the chilies over wood fires, creating smoked paprika or pimentón de La Vera.

Smoked paprika is intensely smoky and is frequently used in paella and dishes where you want a deep, smoky flavour. A little goes a long way, so have some fun & experiment with it but until you are used to it, less is more!