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The people of Spain deserve a muy grande gracias for coming up with one of the best things known to cooks anywhere: smoked paprika.
Smoked paprika is typically made from mild red peppers, which are dried over an oak fire in special smokehouses. This is what gives the pimentón ahumado its deliciously haunting depth of flavor.
I buy the deep-red powder in colorful 2.6 oz-tins at my local Spanish import store, but I’ve also found it in mainstream supermarkets. If you’re unable to source it at a store near you, you can find smoked paprika at Amazon.com and other online retailers.
So, how do you use the stuff? Just put it on everything! OK—almost everything. In particular, the subtle smokiness livens up anything tomato-based: pasta sauces, soups, and salads, for example. It also tastes lovely sprinkled over toasted garlic bread, roasted potatoes, or grilled corn on the cob.
For your next barbecue, try making a rub with crushed garlic, olive or coconut oil, and smoked paprika; slather the mixture over fresh ears of corn and grill over the fire (or in a 450° F oven) until the kernels begin to turn golden, and finish with a sprinkling of sea salt.