Hot Smoked Paprika
Hot smoked paprika is produced from small, hot peppers grown in Extremadura in central Spain. The peppers are handpicked as they ripen from September through November, and are then very slowly smoke-dried in secaderos (smoking sheds) dotted amongst the fields. Only oak is used for smoking, which gives the paprika an intense flavour and fragrance quite unlike Mexican smoked chiles. Whether sweet or hot, smoked paprika is quite pungent a little goes a long way. Use in paella of course but it also has a particular affinity for potato, cauliflower and chickpea dishes, and a small pinch enlivens all kinds of salads, soups and fish and shellfish tapas.