GROUNDING JUST AS WAS DONE IN THE PAST
So, what happens to the dried peppers? Well, they have to be grounded of course. And to do so, they’re taken to transformation plants: after removing the seeds and stems, the mills turn the “raw” product into that so very emblematic intense red powder found in Spanish pantries.
Yet there are two fundamental rules: on the one hand, a constant temperature must be maintained throughout the entire the process. Secondly, the grinding must be done with stones as this is the only way to get the perfect texture required by the PDO Pimentón de la Vera Regulations Board which governs 17 companies located around the region. One of three types of pimentón may be produced depending on the varieties of peppers mixed together: smoked, sweet or hot.
FROM GALICIAN OCTOPUS TO CHORIZO SAUSAGE: THE EXTENSIVE SPANISH RECIPE BOOK
Countless recipes in Spanish cuisine call for pimentón as an ingredient and more than just a few renowned chefs defend its properties across the world. Who would one of them be? The very José Pizarro, who’s Extremaduran just like pimentón!
One example of its omnipresence lies in one of the most widely-acclaimed cured meats in and outside Spain: chorizo is made with pimentón; hence the intense red color it’s known for. Of course, it’s also present in other cured meats like loin, longaniza sausages and even blood sausage.
Yet there are many traditional dishes that wouldn’t be the same without this beloved spice beginning with the famous Galician octopus: after placing a few slices of boiled potatoes on a plate along with diced octopus, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and salt, you have to sprinkle a couple of teaspoons of pimentón on top for that absolutely unmistakable taste.
Another similar suggestion would be those typical mashed potatoes with octopus which are quite popular in Extremadura and then there’s that traditional goat stew from Extremadura as well. Even one of the most authentic dishes in Spanish gastronomy, lentils, also have pimentón. And list goes on and on: the famous Canary Island mojo picón sauce, chickpea stew with chard and Madrid-style beef tripe. You can also find it in Extremadura-style breadcrumbs and pork (migas) which conquer even the most refined of palates.
In fact, this spice has become so significant in modern cuisine that it’s even featured in some of the most avant-garde creations like pimentón ice cream which can be found on many Spanish restaurant menus.
It’s just one more example of this historic spice that crossed the ocean centuries ago to revolutionize gastronomy and become one of the most highly-valued ingredients in Spanish cooking. It’s a revolution that’s undoubtedly far from ending.