Pimenton, or Spanish paprika, is a spice that adds depth of flavor and heat to many dishes.
Pimenton is ground from red chile peppers that are originally from the Americas. When the Spanish "discovered" America, they brought back a number of herbs, spices, and vegetables that transformed traditional Spanish cuisine. Just as Mexican food was heavily influenced by the presence of the conquistadors, Spanish food as we know it would not exist without this cross-section of globalization. The moniker "pimenton" is used in place of paprika because it is distinctively Spanish, whereas "paprika" conveys Hungarian origins. In order to make pimenton, the chile peppers are laid out to dry over low-heat fires. Once the peppers release all their liquid, they are ground into a powder. The combination of the peppers' natural flavor and exposure to fire lends the pimenton a smoky undertone that is great in stews and sauces. Interstingly, pimenton tends to best complement ingredients that share its color- richly brown and crimson gravies, deep scarlet tomatoes, and more all shine when peppered with pimenton. Pimenton is also known for its intensity of flavor, making it a household favorite among cooks.
Recipes with Pimenton