let's learn to have fun with this multi-faceted spice – – Italian Cuisine


It is NOT chili pepper powder. It can be sweet, strong, spicy or smoked. In the kitchen it comes in many ways. His name is paprika, with ‘c’ or with ‘k’ that you want to write. A spice obtained from some plants of the generis Capsicum and in particular some types of peppers (the peppers, in fact, they are not all the same) and chilli (which, for the record, extends life, and even a lot). Nit doesn't even have anything to do with Tabasco, the sauce hot most famous in the world.

Talking about hot, reveal immediately one thing: in the traditional recipes of theHungary, motherland of paprika, this spice – gulasch queen it's not spicy at all. Case ever exists the "strong" paprika. Or that one smoked, of which we have spoken recently and which, known in Iberian land as pimentón ahumado, dominates with its unmistakable flavor many Spanish recipes. For the rest, in the world, paprika is commonly found in its sweet and spicy version. In Italy, in any case, the term "paprika" (which is actually written with the 'c'!) Indicates the word sweet.

179519It comes in the form of dark red powder with a delicate, sweetish and vaguely spicy flavor and possibly very slightly bitter, however more or less sweet and more or less spicy depending on the variety of the Capsicum used (or any mixture) and on the way it is processed, in particular on the presence or absence of the seeds and ribs of the dried and powdered fruit. This which substantially differentiates the paprika from the chili powder (and possibly a sweet paprika from a forte) is there husking, ie the moment when the fruit of the Capsicum it is cut and deprived of the placenta and annexed seeds. Warning! In Italian the Capsicum, questor gender vegetable (part of the Solanaceae family, that of aubergines and tomatoes), it is popularly known as "peperoncino", but also includes peppers. What is it? placenta of chili pepper? There internal white membrane that bind the seeds tol pulp.

It is precisely the placenta a contenus very high quantities of capsaicin, the substance responsible for the taste hot of the chili pepper and that makes you lose weight, stimulatesI have a sense of satiety. Capsicin is present in excellent quantities even in seeds, while only traces remain in the pulp. On the other hand, the pulp is abundantly present capsanthin, a red carotenoid (antioxidant!) that is used as a natural food coloring and dyes bright orange dishes.

179525Since we have named one healthy property of paprika – to prevent cellular aging – we are talking about another important aspect: vitamin C. There paprika has sailed so much for the seas of the world. Why? Why in the 1930s the Hungarian Hungarian scientist, naturalized American, Albert Szent-György discovered that, in addition to being a very pleasant spice, paprika could have helped to significantly reduce the scourge of vitamin C deficiency in the seafaring population, thanks to its high content of ascorbic acid which, once dehydrated, increases exponentially (if not exposed to violent heat). His research on vitamin C convolved him to a Nobel for medicine in 1937.

Is in the kitchen? Enhances dishes with its spicy aromatic touch; in its sweet or even strong version, it "neutralizes" the hotness of the chili pepper. Prolonged cooking can enhance the more bitter taste of the paprika. While it is better avoid "frying" it in the fat without adding liquids.

Paprika is the protagonist of various famous spice mix, like the North African Ras-el-hanout and the medioriensuch BAHARAT and sauces, like the canarina mojo sauce – garlic, cumin seeds, paprika (sweet!) And olive oil blended together, to which is then added lemon juice and a little hot water.

179522The most delicious pairings? It is particularly suitable for plates of meat (see for example pork chops or chicken wings and in particular meat tired, like for example the stew with speck with paprika. It matches great with cream and cheese: you can dress goats or use it to flavor delicious cheese-based recipes, such as tartlets mignon. Among the vegetables, marries with the tomato and wonderfully with onion. Try cooking some traditional recipes adding this spice, which will vary and enrich the flavor. An example? Eggs with tomato (or a egg ragout on croutons) a chicken cacciatore or una onion soup (here the classic French recipe). Good also with the carrot (in velvety, for example) and in dishes based on cereals and mixed vegetables – how it can be a salad of barley and vegetables. Even the dishes based on legumes willingly incorporate it: taste for example the soup of mazancolle and red lentils with paprika or couscous with paprica with chicken and chickpeas. IS in the dessert, why not dare to combine it with the dark chocolate?

Carola Traverso Saibante
November 2019


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