Pimenton - a part of Spanish cuisine for centuries
Thursday, October 31st, 2013
Issue 44, Volume 17.
One of the essential ingredients of Spanish cuisine is pimenton, a paprika that is used in recipes to make everything from entrees to sauces. Historians believe pimenton got its start in Spain thanks to noted explorer Christopher Columbus, who may have brought the spice back to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella after one of his voyages.
The spice has endured and remains an essential ingredient in Spain, where it is sold in three varieties: sweet, medium-hot and hot. Those who want to celebrate Spanish heritage and cuisine can do so with the following recipe for "Pimenton Chicken With Preserved Lemons," courtesy of "The San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market Cookbook" (Chronicle Books) by Christopher Hirsheimer and Peggy Knickerbocker.
Pimenton Chicken with Preserved Lemons
Serves 4 to 6
8 chicken thighs
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon Spanish pimenton
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 red onions, peeled and cut in half crosswise
1 preserved lemon (see below), cut into 8 wedges
Freshly ground black pepper
A few fresh thyme sprigs
Rinse the chicken thighs under cold running water and pat them dry. In a small bowl, stir together the salt and pimenton. Rub the chicken thighs evenly with the mixture.
In a large, heavy skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onionhalves cut side down and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Turn the onion halves, and cook on the second side until browned, about 5 minutes longer. Add the chicken thighs, skin side up, and cook until browned, about 10 minutes.
Turn the chicken thighs over, nestle the lemon wedges in among the chicken and the onions, reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.
Season the chicken and onions with pepper and transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with the thyme and serve.
16 large meyer lemons
1 cup coarse sea salt or kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
Have ready a sterilized 2- or 21/2-quart jar with a lid with a wire bale closure. Cut 8 of the lemons lengthwise into eighths. Place in a large bowl, add the salt and toss together. Transfer the lemons to the jar. Juice the remaining 8 lemons and pour the juice into the jar to cover the lemon wedges. If it doesn’t cover, you will need to juice more lemons, or you will need to turn the jar more frequently during the first week.
Cap the jar, and allow the lemons to remain in a cool, dark spot for 1 week, agitating the jar every couple of days to distribute the salt throughout.
Float a little olive oil on top of the lemons, and then store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
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