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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Frugal Pantry: Smoked Paprika

We never give up on an ingredient just because it's become passé. Goat cheese? Love it! Sun-dried tomatoes? We use them all the time. Same for pine nuts. The only formerly trendy item that we've ever burned out on is balsamic vinegar, and that's because we mindlessly overused it, for years. And years.

Smoked paprika popped up on the American cooking radar a few years ago, when Spanish cooking was all the rage, and for all we know, it's now scorned by the cognoscenti. But we continue to love it for the rich flavor it adds to everything it touches. It gives forthright lentil and quinoa salad surprising depth. Sprinkled on pita croutons, it amps up a plain green salad.

Last night we used smoked paprika in a cauliflower and bulgur sauté with happy results. (Recipe tomorrow; really, it's much, much better than it sounds.)

As the photo attests, you can now find smoked paprika in the spice section of your supermarket. Or, if you like to scour the discount stores, as we do, you often can pick up a tin of the Spanish stuff for about $5. Either way, a few dollars' investment will buy you a lot of flavor.

Got a good recipe that uses smoked paprika? Please share!


  1. I like it too, and I have that exact bottle! I am working on a theory that smoked paprika can replace bacon because it hits that same rich, smoky note. I have been putting it in bean soups to experiment (like kidney bean, tomato, cabbage, onion)--seems to work!

  2. That's an excellent idea. We're always looking for "bacony" flavors that don't actually involve bacon. Thanks!

  3. Peel a sweet potato, cut it into half inch dice. Toss the chunks with a teaspoon of smoked paprika and a little salt and pepper, then stir in about a tablespoon of olive oil. Roast uncovered for anywhere from half an hour to an hour, depending on what else might be in the oven. Simple and delicious.

  4. Jeanetta, that sounds great. We lerve roasted potatoes but somehow never thought of pairing them with smoked paprika. Thanks!