Spanish paprika (Pimenton de la Vera)
This is not your mother's paprika! Forget the tasteless orange powder you grew up knowing as paprika. Invest in a good Spanish paprika or Pimentón de la Vera. You won't believe what you have been missing. Made from ground dried peppers smoked in oak, Pimentón de la Vera adds a smokey bittersweet flavor to eggs, potatoes, poultry, meats, soups, stews, salads and paellas. I use Spanish paprika in many things, but I particularly like what is does to my Killer tacos, Roasted tomato soup and Crazy-good smashed potato salad.
A gift from the new world
Christopher Columbus brought the first peppers used for paprika to Spain. In the 16th century Vera monks began smoking the peppers and drying them to create the first Pimentón de Vera, which is now protected by Spanish Denomination of Origin (D.O.) laws.
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Cooking and storing Spanish paprika
Paprika's flavor is enhanced when heated with oil. Paprika deteriorates quickly and should be stored in air tight containers protected from light.
Spanish vs. Hungarian Paprikas
While Pimentón de la Vera is my favorite paprika, there are other great Spanish and Hungarian paprikas to experiment with. Spain and Hungary are very competitive about their paprika, each believing they offer the world's best.
Smoked, sweet, medium and hot
Spanish paprika is either smoked (Pimentón de Vera) or non-smoked. Both types of Spanish paprika come in three different heat intensities.
- Pimentón dulce (sweet)
- Pimentón (medium hot)
- Pimentón picante (hot)
Where to get Spanish paprika
The good news is you don't have to go to Spain to get Spanish paprika. Although, a trip to Spain makes a for a great shopping trip! You can buy Spanish paprika online from a variety of vendors including Amazon.