Pick a Pimenton
If you’re a fan of the unusual summer peppers sold at Bay Area farmers markets by East Palo Alto’s Happy Quail Farms, you’ll be glad to know you can savor their exotic tastes year-round now in dried form.
The specialty, family-owned farm smoke-dries its peppers over oak and fruit wood to create its new smoked pimenton powders; and dries other peppers either in the sun or in a dehydrator for its small-batch paprikas.
The result is a range of spices so handy for creating so many dishes at home. Mulatto paprika, made from a mild spicy brown chocolate pepper, is perfect for traditional Mexican moles. Smoked Ají Amarillo pimenton has a vibrant marigold color and is ideal in a sour cream dip or a lime juice marinade. And Serrano paprika, with its sweet-hot notes, makes a mean rub.
The paprikas and pimentons come packaged in nifty 0.4-ounce, resealable glass vials that come four to a set for $35 each. They will remind you of an old-school chemistry set. Choose from these collections: Sweet to Mildly Hot; Sweet to Hot Paprikas; Sweet to Hot Pimentons; Mexican Collection; and Peruvian Hot Collection.
Each collection includes a pamphlet, detailing the heat level of each paprika or pimenton (on a scale of 1 to 10), as well as tips for uses.
Larger, individual tins also are available if you decide you just can’t get enough of one paprika or pimenton in particular.