Baked Paprika Cheese
How to make simple but delicious Baked Paprika Cheese
Torta del Casar cheese, in box
2 teaspoons sweet smoked paprika, plus extra for sprinkling
country-style bread , toasted or grilled, to serve
For this recipe try to use Torta del Casar, a soft-centered sheep’s milk cheese from Extremadura. If you can’t find it, try similar French or Portuguese cheeses that bake well.
Preheat your oven to 180C/gas 4. Cut off the top of the cheese with a knife and sprinkle with the paprika.
Place the cheese on a baking tray, pop it in the oven and cook for 15 minutes, until the cheese is very soft and gooey. Transfer it onto a plate and sift over a little extra paprika.
Serve the baked cheese immediately with the toasted or grilled bread.
Where Does Spanish Paprika or Pimentón Come From?
Paprika is made from ground, dried red chile peppers originally from the Americas. So important is paprika to Spanish cooking and so demanding are the Spanish of quality paprikas that there are Denominations of Origin (D.O.) for paprika. One of the D.O. is located in Murcia. The other and more famous is La Vera, which is located in Cáceres, Extremadura, southwest of Madrid. Both of these areas are warm and dry in the summer, which makes them perfect for growing peppers.
It is said that Christopher Columbus brought paprika back to Spain during his second voyage and served it to Ferdinand and Isabella in Extremadura and even though it was a bit hot and spicy for the king and queen, the monks of the monastery in Guadalupe passed it along to other brothers and it was spread from Extremadura all over Spain.
What Are the Types of Spanish Paprika?
There are several different types of Spanish paprika, made from different kinds of peppers.
Pimentón Dulce or Sweet Paprika: Round red peppers make this mild, light orange paprika.
Pimentón Agridulce or Medium Hot Paprika: Longer, dark red pepper make a medium-hot paprika.
Pimentón Picante or Hot Paprika: Made from any of several different types of long red peppers.
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