What is smoked paprika used for? How would I use it and in what dishes?
Here are 8 recipes containing smoked paprika that have won food52 recipe contests (including the one in the photo): http://bit.ly/aUGDBf
Pimenton ahumado is one of my favorite flavors (second perhaps only to piment d'Esplette from the Basque country). I use it in paella and arroz con pollo. You can sprinkle a little over fried calamari while still sizzling hot from the oil.
Basically, it's a smoked pepper that's been dried and ground. You can use it anywhere you would use paprika. It's very versatile!
When using smoked paprika in dishes that involve sauteeing, I like to put some smoked paprika in the oil while it heats up before adding the ingredient(s) to be sauteed. It's a way to use the smokiness a little more subtly and to spread it out in a dish instead of it just being noticed wherever the paprika happens to be sprinkled.
I love using smoked paprika to add a bacon-like note to dishes that I'd like to keep meatless. It's great for adding depth to sauteed greens, pot beans, and vegetarian soups and stews. Also be aware that there are a few varieties of smoked paprika - the brand I buy has sweet, hot, and bittersweet varieties available. I think it's a wonderful, incredibly versatile ingredient to have in your pantry.
Use it in anything you would really like to add bacon to, but aren't going to because 1.) it will add a step to cooking and you're in a hurry; 2.) you don't want to add extra fat; 3.) you don't have any bacon.
Or use it to boost the smokey flavor of chipotle chiles without adding more heat.
Just don't use too much. It can get overwhelming. I agree that it is indispensable in your spice collection
Most countries of origin that produce paprika also produce smoked paprika. We usually think of Hungary and Spain - don't stop there as peppers were brought back to Europe from the Western Hemisphere, so think Mexico and South American cuisines too. Add to that Mediterranean (include Italy) and Indian cuisines. You can substitute it for regular paprika (obviously the smoky aspect might not work in all dishes), however; keep in mind that the Spanish Pimenton comes in three varieties - Dulce (sweet), Agridulce (mild heat) and Picante (hot heat) - make certain you know which paprika you are cooking with to reduce surprises. I like to use pimenton as part of a dry rub for ribs; this is especially good for people who can only cook ribs indoors. You add the smoky flavor without having to grill or smoke the meat.
Hungarian paprika comes in sweet or hot (and in a good spice shop, in several subtle but distinct variations in between, mostly on the sweet/delicate end.) There now may be a smoked variety available - as it's become so popular - but it's not a 'traditional' Hungarian thing.
That said, smoked paprika (Spanish) is great with anything roast - love it with chicken, potatoes, tomatoes... also with things that make me think 'cook over fire' - like ribs, salmon, paella, etc.Great with eggs - especially in a Spanish tortilla, and also with simply sauteed shrimp in olive oil, with lots of garlic and bread to sop it all up.