Alternative name: Pimenton
Paprika is a spice made from grinding the dried fruits of capsicum annum (e.g., bell peppers or chilli peppers). Originating in South America where peppers were a staple of the local Indian diet, it was the arrival of Columbus in 1492 that would lead to their export back to Europe. Here, first the Spanish and later the Hungarians dried and ground the fruit to create what we now recognise as paprika. Its popularity increased with its recognition as a more affordable alternative to the heat provided by the more elitist and expensive peppercorn.
Today it is grown across the world, with Spain and Hungary producing some of the highest quality paprika. More recently countries like Israel and Zimbabwe have become major producers; some of their sweet, dark red grades are highly regarded for their rich colour, character profile and non-bitter qualities. It is one of the spices classified as “amalgamating” because of its ability to bring balance to a dish by blending all its flavours together. Paprika is used both to colour and flavour dishes like Hungarian goulash and chicken paprikash; it works well with pork and chicken and as a garnish for lobster, shrimp and crabmeat dishes. Eggs, however they are prepared, can greatly benefit from a sprinkling of paprika.
Produce of Spain