A red powder made from grinding dried sweet red peppers; used as a garnish and seasoning. The color varies from bright orange-red to deep red, depending on the peppers used. Most commercial paprika comes from Spain, South America, California and Hungary. Hungarian paprika is thought to be the finest, and will be labelled as from the Szeged region. In Hungary there are six classes or types of paprika ranging from delicate to hot. To maintain the stronger taste that consumers expect, some spice companies add cayenne to heat up Hungarian paprika. Commercial food manufacturers use paprika to add color. If a food item is colored red, orange or reddish brown and the label lists "Natural Color," it is likely paprika. Paprika releases its color and flavor when heated. Thus, sprinkling ground paprika over colorless dishes may improve their appearance, but does little for their flavor. Similarly, if you want to color the contents of a dish, stir the paprika into a little hot oil before adding.
Season: available year-round
How to store: Paprika deteriorates quickly, so it should be purchased in small quantities and stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months.
Matches well with: cauliflower, chicken, crab, fish, goulash, lamb, potatoes, rice, shellfish, stroganoff, veal