Smoked paprika is made from small cherry peppers that are smoked over oak. In New Zealand we are most familiar with the Dulce (sweet) variety but there’s also Agridulce (bittersweet and the most traditional) and Picante (spicy). Forget the ‘chilli’ connotation. None is fiery but the three come in varying depths of smoky spiciness.
The varieties can be used interchangeably in paellas and are also essentials in meat, cheese, bean and the cod dishes of the north. If you want to add even more smoky intensity to your Spanish dishes, try adding a few dried, oak-smoked nora peppers. Available from specialty stores (look for La Chinata brand), these small peppers, a cultivar of the capsicum, can be added directly to rice and fish dishes and sauces or they can be rehydrated with water. Scrape out and use the softened flesh and discard the stems and seeds.
Available from sabato.co.nz.