Smoked Paprika: Our Beacon of Hope

Smoked Paprika: Our Beacon of Hope

Were I to be stranded on a deserted island, and had the foresight (and self-control) to only tote along one spice (salt doesn’t count in this!), it would have to be smoked paprika. I think. I reserve the right to amend my choice at any time, however.

In the event that this scenario would actually come into reality (rather unlikely being that boating isn’t my main form of transportation, and I spend about 90% of my time in the kitchen, at a desk, or on a the floor with a small child), smoked paprika would be my beacon, my lighthouse, shining beatifically over my cooking, helping me remember what was once possible to create in the kitchen.  My delicious lifeline to the past.

Pictured: Smoked Paprika Roast Chicken

“Why smoked paprika?” I hear you ask.  “Why not smoked paprika,” I would say in response.  This spice, made from dried pimiento peppers, smoked, then ground into a powder, is nectar from the god(s).  Okay, not nectar.  But a spice.  A spice from the gods.

Pictured: Smoked Paprika, Wild Rice, Sweet Potatoes, and Chickpeas

That color.  Oh that color.  So rusty, richly burnt red.  That intoxicating scent – the one that smells like smoldering wood.  But better, since we don’t actually eat wood.  Smoldering pepper.  And the taste, …oh the taste.  Peppery, earthy, zingy with that unparalleled unequivocal hint of smoke.  That smoke is what keeps you coming back for more. 

Pictured: Smoky Roasted Cauliflower

That taste, that you cannot for the life of you, get enough of.  That taste that works so well with the savory dishes.  It adds such delicious flavor notes to meat – all sorts of meat - from chicken to beef to pork, and even some seafood.  It plays nicely with vegetables – in both salads and with roasted veggies.  And it goes great with grains and eggs and cheesy eats.  Smoked paprika somehow manages to be versatile without losing its identity and its allure.  A handy characteristic to have for a deserted island spice.

Pictured: Triple Smoky Macaroni and Cheese

The following 15 recipes highlight this most wonderful of spices – from macaroni and cheese to roasted chicken and onward to vinaigrette.  Perhaps this means I should always carry smoked paprika on my person.  Just in case.

Around The Web