Perhaps obvious: Smoked paprika is paprika that has been smoked.
Paprika is made from peppers in the Capsicum annuum family, which can include sweet peppers like bell peppers, as well as hot peppers like chili peppers. Depending on the type and combination of peppers used, paprika can be gentle and sweet or robust and spicy.
Smoked paprika is made by drying peppers over smoking oak wood. Over a period of about ten to 15 days, the hot air and smoke both help to evaporate the moisture in the peppers, as well as to impart a wonderful smoky flavour. Once the drying process is complete, the peppers are milled into a fine powder, and packaged.
In Spain, smoked paprika is called pimentón. This spice is a staple in Spanish cuisine, and is a crucial element of traditional dishes like paella and chorizo, where pimentón is added for both flavor and color.
Smoked paprika is a fine powder with a deep, warm red hue.
Depending on the types of peppers used, smoked paprika will either be mild and sweet (often labeled as dulce), warm and pungent (agridulce), or hot and spicy (picante). Note that even the picante varieties will not have the tongue-torching effect of cayenne or hot pepper flakes, and is rather just pleasantly warming.
In all cases, whatever the pepper used, smoked paprika will have a wonderful smoky, slightly charred savoriness, which comes from the way the peppers are dried over smoking oak wood.
Smoked paprika, in the amounts typically consumed, is not a significant source of any nutrients.
However, relative to its weight, smoked paprika is rich in a variety of carotenoids (compounds part of the vitamin A family), such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, capsanthin, and capsorubin.
Like most other spices, smoked paprika doesn’t necessarily “count” towards your macronutrient or micronutrient tallies, although it is still relatively nutrient rich, and of course adds flavor.
Smoked paprika is most often sold in metal tins, although it may also be found in glass jars, sachets, or loose in bulk bins.
However you choose to purchase it, shop at stores with a high turnover. Spices that stay on the shelves for long periods of time lose flavor and potency.
Fresh smoked paprika should have wonderfully smoky and pungent aroma, and a deep red colour.
Keep smoked paprika in a sealed container at room temperature, ideally away from heat and light, such as a closed cupboard or drawer away from the oven.
Smoked paprika won’t so much “go bad” as it will lose potency, which occurs after about six to eight months.
Paprika is delicious sprinkled over cooked eggs or soft cheeses, and goes very well with chicken, pork, or white fish. It is also a natural match with potatoes or any tomato-based dish.
Heating can enhance paprika’s flavor, but be careful because it burns easily. To avoid burning the spice, heat it over low heat, add some olive oil, and limit frying it to less than one minute. Otherwise, paprika can be added to roasted, pan-fried, or stewed vegetables or meats.
RECIPE: VEGAN CHICKPEA FLOUR QUICHE WITH ROASTED VEGETABLES & SMOKED PAPRIKA
Reminiscent of quiche, this vegan alternative is made with a high protein chickpea flour as a base. This dish has bold roasted, smoky flavors that will satisfy both meat-eaters and plant-eaters.
- olive oil
- 1 tbsp
- red pepper, sliced in strips
- red onion, cut in 1/2″ wedges
- sea salt
- 1 tsp
- chickpea flour
- 2 cups
- sea salt
- 1 tsp
- smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp
- dried oregano
- 2 tsp
- 1 tsp
- cayenne pepper
- 1/4 tsp
- garlic, finely minced
- 3 cloves
- olive oil
- 2 tbsp
- 2.5 cups
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 75 minutes Yield: 8 servings
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a large baking tray with parchment paper. Toss the cut vegetables in olive oil and salt, and then spread them out on the parchment, being careful not to overlap them too much.
Roast for 20 minutes, then remove the tray from the oven, flip the vegetables, and roast for another 20 minutes. The vegetables will be done when they are fragrant, soft, and slightly charred at the edges.
While the vegetables are roasting, you can prepare the chickpea batter.
Add chickpea flour, salt, and spices to a large bowl and stir to combine. Form a well in the center, and add minced garlic, olive oil, and some water. Begin to whisk this mixture together, adding the rest of the water gradually, until all the dry lumps are gone. Let this mixture sit for at least 10 minutes.
Once the vegetables have finished roasting, preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9” pie plate, and add the roasted vegetables to the chickpea batter. Stir gently to combine, and then pour this mixture into the pie plate.
Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Then, rotate the pie plate, and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the quiche are golden and the center has set.
Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing, and then serve and enjoy.