For years my favorite spice was Sichimi Togarishi , a Japanese red pepper mix with sesame and delicious MSG. But there’s a new red pepper spice in the pantry these days. That’s smoked paprika.
I first purchased smoked paprika (or pimentón) in a frantic dash to Brooklyn Kitchen moments before a dinner party. It was a key ingredient in the barley risotto I was making from Ottololenghi’s Jerusalem cookbook. I was a bit peeved that I had to spend $7.00 on a spice that I was going to used only 1/4 teaspoon of. So, I vowed to use it as much as possible and my life has not been the same since.
Smoked paprika tastes like it sounds…a smoky, sweeter spice than your typical hot paprika. It’s also got a pretty deep orange color that makes any pasta, salad or meat look instantly prettier.
I love the brand Safinter.
My favorite was to showcase pimentón is on freshly popped popcorn! Just in time for all the movies you’re going to watch this weekend during this bout of shitty weather we’re having.
Smoked Paprika Popcorn
You will need:
2/3 cup popcorn kernels
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Maldon sea salt (or regular salt)
1. In a medium saucepan with a lid, heat the vegetable oil over medium high heat. After 2 minutes, add a single kernel of popcorn. When it starts to fizz in the oil, add all the popcorn and cover quickly. You should start to hear popping. Gently shake the pot every 15 seconds or so without ever removing the lid. Continue shaking for 2 minutes until the popping slows down dramatically. Remove the pot (lid still on) from the flame. You may have un-popped kernels, but it’s better than burnt kernels.
2. Melt the butter in a small glass bowl in your microwave or oven for 20 seconds. Pour the pop corn into a large bowl and drizzle the butter on top. Sprinkle the smoked paprika and salt on top and toss with your hands. You may want to add more salt!