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Smoked paprika aioli

September 12, 2010

Let me introduce my favourite new spice in the kitchen: smoked paprika. It is totally different to regular paprika, in that it’s super strong, smells and tastes like, well, smoked stuff (kinda bacon-y), and (sadly) is quite a bit more expensive, and therefore generally only available at higher end supermarkets or delicatessens. The best kind is Spanish, and the stuff pictured below can be found in Christchurch at Mercato, Ballantynes and Fresh Choice Merivale (above the open freezers) as far as I know. If you’re wondering, the price is around $12, whether it’s for sweet, hot, or bittersweet (I chose sweet). Yikes, that’s not cheap, even if it is for 70g, but it should last you a decent while considering its potency. However, if you’re a vegan/vegetarian, this is worth every cent, especially if you miss the taste of things like bacon or cheese. When combined with regular paprika, you get a much sweeter, smokier taste that is absolutely swoon-worthy, capable of making ardent meat lovers eat beans and rice with rigour and describe the dish as “really tasty.” I mean, we’re talking about beans and rice here. They’re good, but not wow, what on earth just happened?!

Example two: My new favourite type of aioli, with the scantest pinch of smoked paprika in:

I wish I had clothes that colour. Then I wish I could get away with wearing clothes that colour.

If you’re in New Zealand, and too intimidated/lazy to make this yourself, you are in luck, because apparently Alfa One Rice Bran Oil make it (thanks to Ro for telling me about this, and also for holding my magic whisk while I poured oil). Although if you’re not in New Zealand and want a shortcut, just buy some proper, real mayo, mince up some garlic, throw in some mustard, lemon juice, and a pinch of the aforementioned smoked paprika. Ta-da! Instant friends! Just don’t expect kisses afterwards.

Smoked paprika aioli

makes about one cup (the jar is about half a cup because I shared some)

  • 1 large egg yolk (you can freeze the white, just remember to label)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice of 1 large lemon – start with juice of half lemon first
  • 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (I chop roughly, then grind in a mortar and pestle)
  • 1/8 tsp ground mustard or 1/2 tsp wet mustard, wholegrain or smooth (optional, but awesome)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • just under 1c canola oil (not olive – too many flavours competing)

Make sure all ingredients are at room temperature, which means around 20C (70F)

You will need one of the following sets, with the best options at the top – the first three are best done with someone whizzing while the other pours:

  • an immersion/stick blender with a whisk attachment, plus the smoothie cup that comes with it
  • someone with strong arms, and a lot of patience and love for you, plus a whisk and bowl
  • electric cake beaters that work when only one beater is put in, and a glass that fits the beater easily. It should have a little leeway on the sides and fit easily in the bottom of the glass
  • a blender or small/mini food processor with an opening  where you can pour oil in while the blades are going

By using one of the above you will be able to make a non-commercial amount. Remember, home made mayo doesn’t keep for more than a week, even in the fridge (and you should store it in the fridge), and while this is delicious, you can’t eat a lot of it without starting to feel a little queasy – it is fat laden with more fat, after all! If you want more details on getting your mayo right first off, and what to do if the mayo separates, consult Connie’s guide at Oui chef – it is brilliantly comprehensive, and I wish I had read it before attempting (and failing) my first attempt at home made mayo many months ago.

Combine all ingredients except oil, and let sit (break the yolk first) for a few minutes to allow the acids from the lemon to de-bug your yolk. Whizz/whisk/beat until the yolk is paler and thicker. Leave the blender/mixer running, and drizzle in oil drop by drop, until the mixture is much thicker and stands up on its own when you lift the beaters out of it or dip a spoon in. Only test it when you think it looks quite thick (it should leave trails from the edges of the beaters). Once it is at this stage, you can now drizzle the oil in a thin stream while beating the mixture, and if it’s a bit too thick to beat easily, drizzle the juice in from the second half of the lemon, then followed by more oil. Keep beating until the oil is finished, or you can stop early if it’s sufficiently thick and you’ve run out of lemon juice. Taste, and season with more salt and pepper if required, and stir through.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. September 13, 2010 9:27 am

    Smoked paprika aioli sounds perfect right now for some steak sandwiches I’m throwing together for dinner tonight! Glad you found my post helpful, by the way (thank you for the shout out!)

  2. steelchef permalink
    September 18, 2010 4:30 pm

    We’ve enjoyed your smoked paprika recipes and would like to share our remedy to the high price. We happen to have smokehouse but you can smoke sweet paprika on a barbeque.
    Take a carefully cleaned tuna can or other similar can with label removed and lid attached. Turn the barby on high and burn the coating and adhesive from it.
    Remove and cool the can, pierce it with an awl or other pointed tool in several places.
    Fill with your favourite wood chips, (eucalyptus, fuitwoods, grapevines etc) and place on the hot side of the barby. On the other side place a double foiled tray of sweet or hot paprika. Stir the paprika every 1/2 hour.
    Allow at least 2 hours of smoke, replenishing the contents of the can as required.
    We have found this to be superior to any of the commercial brands available in Canada. Not to mention that we buy regular paprika, in bulk for 1/10th of the price of smoked or smoky paprika.
    We also use this proccess for smoking salt, hardboiled eggs, split in half – dynamite flavour in potato salad, nuts, seeds and of course, meat, seafood and poultry.

  3. steelchef permalink
    September 18, 2010 4:40 pm

    Here is a rub, seasoning that we use frequently.

    Colin’s Low Salt, All Purpose Rub

    Brining thin fillets of perch, pickerel, walleye and trout always seems to overpower the fish, even with reduced times and salinity.
    I modified a rub that has become a sensation among our friends and family.
    It’s particularly good if using frozen fish or meat, as the moisture from burst cells combines with the rub and is not diluted. We also use it as a seasoning salt for regular table use.
    It’s a bit much on eggs but for regular meat, vegetable and fowl dishes and salads it has a low-sodium content and is not overpowering, (used sparingly.)

    2 tablespoons salt
    3/4 tablespoon ground black pepper
    2 teaspoons onion powder
    2 teaspoons garlic granules
    2 tablespoons smoky paprika
    1/2 teaspoon dried dill or sub rubbed dry tarragon
    1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 teaspoon celery seed

    The basic brining and grilling spices are here. Adjust them as per your palate.
    Bay leaf is a great addition as are any of your personal favourites.
    I put this blend in a spice (coffee) grinder then into a shaker with large holes.
    For fish fillets, sprinkle sparingly on both sides.
    Pack as many as you intend to smoke, into a covered container.
    Refrigerate overnight, rinse, dry and allow pellicle to develop; then smoke using well soaked alder chips.
    My converted freezer will do 18 – 24, 8 – 16 oz fillets in 4 pans of alder.
    This is a small pan, salvaged from a Little Chief smoker.
    For pork chops, strip loins, chicken breasts, casseroles etc., use sparingly as well.
    More seasoning can be added but cannot be removed unless you convert your recipe into a stew, stir-fry etc.
    Hope this adds something to your gastronomic experience.

    Colin Waddell
    Fort St. John, B.C.

  4. September 18, 2010 5:51 pm

    Thanks steelchef! Unfortunately our BBQ has seen better days, and technically it’s not even mine – got left from a previous flatmate! The salt rub sounds so delicious though. My parents’ friends got given some rice-smoked pork belly and put slices of it in a stir fry with veges. The veges took on the most AMAZING flavour!

  5. steelchef permalink
    March 14, 2012 3:32 pm

    I’m happy that at least a few of you have found this useful. I am an advocate of smoke preservation and flavoring. I make low fat, (low salt) sausage and cure bacon and hams with minimal salt. My smoked salmon is legendary, a point of considerable pride. The spices provide a replacement for salt and properly prepared and stored the results are incomparable. A “Little Chief” smoker is the best buy out there. But; as noted above, a BBQ can be used handily to smoke small quantities of paprika, salt, nuts etc.
    Our family grew up with smoked meat as a staple. My mother and stepfather both died at very young ages from what we now recognise as arteriosclerosis. This was the undoubtedly the result of eating a steady diet of brined/smoked meat. My wife and I chose to find a solution to this unhealthy process and came up with the above recipe.
    There are infinite variations of this formula but the best are made with your own, home-smoked ingredients,

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