& COOKING ARTICLE
smoked paprika or Pimenton is another of Spain's
finest products which carries the "DO" (Denominacion
de Origin) Paprika is widely used in all types of
Spanish cooking and is of course what gives the world
famous chorizo its deep red colour.
Paprika is made from dried, ground
red chili peppers. The region of La Vera is probably
the most highly respected area in which the finest paprika
is produced, a very dry and hot region which is perfect
for growing and cultivating the red peppers.
The peppers are harvested from September
through until early December during which time they
are hung and dried in drying houses or more commonly
drying sheds. In many local villages you can
see peppers hanging from balconies drying in the sun
- an impressive and very colourful sight against the
pure white washed exterior of the building. While the
peppers are drying they are turned regularly to allow
for equal air distribution (very similar to rotating
hams during the curing process).
Paprika from the La Vera region (Pimenton
de la Vera) is always smoked using oak, the result
is a tremendously deep smokey flavour and aroma, which
adds a superb authentic flavour to many dishes. Adding
both colour and unique flavour is what makes this paprika
an essential for every Spanish kitchen.
Once the peppers are dried they are
then taken to the mill where they are ground, a quality
paprika that boasts the DO label will have all the seeds
and stalks removed to guarantee the products purity.
There are three different types of
smoked paprika, each one coming from a different type
the most common variety is sweet paprika or Pimenton
Dulce this paprika is made from round or bell
peppers and is quite sweet on the palate.
The second is a bitter - sweet paprika known as Pimenton
Agridulce not a common paprika and only recently
introduced to outside Spain this variety is made using
a mixture of round peppers and the more fiery longer
shaped pepper resulting in a bittersweet blend and
Lastly there is hot paprika or Pimenton Picante
this paprika is made from long almost burgundy in
colour hot red peppers, almost always used in the
production of hot Spanish chorizos this paprika boasts
a deep ruby red colour and that extra bite required
for hotter dishes.
On the Spanish table paprika is almost
up their with the salt, pepper and olive oil - for tapas
such as egg dishes, dips and salsa, paprika is often
used to add flavour, a light sprinkle can transform
many recipes either as an ingredient or through presentation.
The aroma from smoked paprika is certainly reminiscent
of the Mediterranean as is of course that unique flavour
. . . a real treat for the senses.
Copyright 2008 Orce Serrano Hams - www.orceserranohams.com
03 May 2008
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