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What Is Spanish Paprika?

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  • Written By: H. Bliss
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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Spanish paprika is a bright red spice made from ground-up, dried red peppers. It comes in the form of a powder and has a sweet, smoky pepper flavor. Spanish paprika comes in varying heat levels for different types of tastes, and can be mostly sweet and smoky, or it can be extremely hot and spicy. Spanish paprika is so named because it is grown and prepared in Spain.

Though another type of paprika, Hungarian paprika, is more commonly used for general cooking purposes than Spanish paprika, it is important to get the Spanish variety when cooking traditional Spanish dishes, such as paella. Types of foods commonly seasoned with paprika include egg dishes, potato dishes, and chicken dishes. Spanish paprika is also frequently used on seafood. A popular ingredient occasionally electively included in almost any type of savory dish, Spanish paprika is a nearly ubiquitous spice in soups and sausages in Spain. It can be incorporated during the cooking process, or it can be added to the dish after it is cooked to impart a final touch of paprika flavor.

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Though cuisine can vary throughout the regions of Spain, rice, seafood, and cured meat are signature dishes of this country. Paprika, specifically Spanish paprika, is an important spice in a dish called paella. Paella is a traditional Spanish dish that originates from the Eastern coastal area. In addition to cooked green vegetables and beans, paella includes rice, land snails, and some kind of meat. Land snails are just snails that live on land, as opposed to freshwater or saltwater snails. Types of meat used in a paella can vary by region and availability, but often include rabbit, seafood, and poultry.

One well-known egg dish that uses paprika is deviled eggs. To make these, hard-boiled eggs are sliced in half and their yolks are removed, pulverized into a paste, seasoned, and pumped back into the yolk hole in the boiled whites. This is often done with a pastry bag, a tool bakers use frequently to help them shape or frost pastries decoratively. After the hole in the whites is filled with the flavored yolk paste, it is almost always seasoned with a pinch of paprika to give it a touch of color and flavor. The juxtaposition of the bright red paprika with the intensely yellow yolk filling creates a presentation many people find visually pleasing.

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