Spanish pimenton, it’s the spice of the year in my radar. I ordered this smoked ground pimiento peppers from World Spice Merchants in Seattle a few years ago and had not used it much–now I am seduced. Not like the paprika your Mom sprinkled on deviled eggs, but mysterious, subtly smoked paprika magically turns eggs and sautéed greens from simple to simply enchanting. For my birthday party, we made roasted garbanzos as one of the appetizers—and it was such a huge batch I just about used up the rediscovered jar of fire-red smooth powder. That would not be good. Isn’t it true that once something good is brought to your attention you notice it more and more? It feels like half of the recipes I see these days call for smoked paprika. And recently cruising the big box aisles at Costco, I spotted—you guessed it—smoked paprika in a mondo container. There is no comparison in a taste test—I have become addicted to the much deeper flavor of high-quality smoked paprika.
I had to make a special trip to Seattle. OK, just a wee side trip to the Pike Place store of World Spice Merchants while I was there visiting my sisters, aunt, niece and nephew.
World Spice Merchants ships all over the world and they sell spices from all over the world. I stepped up to the counter and placed my order. The clerk apologized, “I am sorry we are out of smoked paprika. We have the picanté smoked paprika in stock.” Why not, I’d made a special trip and was not going to leave empty handed.
Another great Seattle destination is Macrina Bakery.
This week we have sweet touchon carrots in our Ranui Gardens CSA box. Dulce or picanté, smoked paprika in the dressing is a nice twist.
After you scrub or peel the carrots, make strips with the peeler. It’s a different flourish instead of familiar grated or diced carrot. Aim for 3/8 to ½-inch wide strips, working your way around as you peel.
Touchon Carrot Salad with Smoked Paprika
3 cups carrot strips
2 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar or fresh –squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Real Salt, to taste
Smoked paprika, to taste
Whisk the vinegar, olive oil and honey, adding a scant ¼ teaspoon of salt. Start with a pinch of the paprika and mix that in.
Mix the vinaigrette and the carrots in a bowl, cover and chill for at least an hour. Taste and correct the seasoning, adding more salt and paprika to your liking.
Serves 3 to 6.