What are your thoughts on smoked pimentón? I think it is totally fabulous and since using it in last night's dinner, am on a new tear to incorporate it into more recipes and meals. For those of you not familiar with it, a quick 101...

Simply put, paprika is a familiar spice made from dried red bell and chili peppers. Pimentón, also known as Spanish paprika, can be sweet, hot/spicy, or smoked (each made from different sorts of peppers), and is a critical component of Spanish culinary traditions. Hungarian food also utilizes quite a bit of paprika, most often the sweet and hot varieties, and those are wonderful in their own rights. However, smoked pimentón lends such a unique and aromatic depth of flavor to whatever it's added, and as such, it's my favorite. You always know when pimentón is present. Last night's recipe called for stirring it and cumin seeds into sauteed garlic and onions which were still over high heat, and as soon as the red powder hit the skillet, the aroma shuttle had lift-off. We had some really great country bread from Bonaparte (fab French outpost at a local farmers market (FM), and a cafe in Georgetown) which we thickly sliced, dunked in hot olive oil and then peppered with pimentón, no pun intended. Friends, this was enough to render me speechless. Holy s&*))&t!

You know what else Spain does well? Potatoes! Tortilla española! Potatoes in garlic aioli! Patatas bravas! All are dishes I could literally eat every day. I don't, but I could. Tonight, however, we're going to have some hot oven-roasted potatoes (gorgeous little spuds I bought yesterday at the FM) with olive oil, garlic and pimentón to kick off our Meatless Monday meal. I can hardly wait; my mouth is watering.

Next time you're at a market with a good selection of spices, get yourself a little canister of this stuff. You won't be sorry.