Q. You have such a vast knowledge of foods, spices etc. Why not throw in an occasional blog on the items used in cooking. For instance, I did not know paprika had different flavors. Thought it was used as a garnish on deviled eggs, chicken salad, etc.
I’d like to say that this question came from one of my many legions of readers that I have not yet met, but it came from Terrell. Terrell has a very sophisticated palette for a Georgia boy raised on cornbread and cream gravy. And he is completely forgiven about not knowing about paprika in any other application than deviled eggs. Paprika is practically required for the well-dressed deviled egg in the South.
So, Terrell, there are three kinds of paprika that I know about. There’s the kind you put on deviled eggs which I think has practically no taste at all on its own. There’s Hungarian paprika, which ranges from mild to hot depending on what dried pepper it’s made from. And then there’s my new spice boyfriend, smoked paprika.
I discovered smoked paprika a few years ago when a cousin gave me some for Christmas. An odd Christmas gift, I thought at the time. But when I opened the can and took a sniff it took my breath away. It as a deep, complex smokiness that adds just a back note of intense flavor. I use it in my spaghetti sauce. I use it in stews and pinto beans. A little goes a long way so start with just a quarter teaspoon or so. Remember, you can always add but you can’t take away. Then taste and adjust the seasoning.
The first smoked paprika was imported but now you can find it in the spice rack at the grocery store.
This recipe is from Avalon Wine in Oregon. It originally called for morels, which are extremely fancy and expensive and which I have not found anywhere in Middle Tennessee. Anything that involves cream, mushrooms, shrimp and smoked paprika is a good thing.
Shrimp in Mushroom Cream Sauce with Smoked Paprika
4 tbsp butter, divided
1 lb. extra large shrimp, shelled and de-veined
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup cream
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 cup dry white wine
8 chives, diced finely
1. In a sauté pan over medium high heat, add 2 tablespoons butter and shrimp.
2. Cook shrimp for approximately 2 minutes per side, or until opaque. Add garlic at the very last moment, careful not to overcook the garlic. Remove and reserve.
3. Add remaining butter and mushrooms to pan and sauté over medium high heat for 5 minutes, or until slightly condensed.
4. Add white wine and stir to loosen up any browned bits. Add cream and paprika. Let reduce for 5 minutes or until sauce thickens, then add back shrimp. Cook for 2 more minutes, then serve. Sprinkle with chopped chives.
Inspired by Elizabeth Baird’s recipe from the Surreal Gourmet