Pimentón de la vera dulce! There it is... secret is out.
Until I started creating my all purpose seasoning, Wah Gwan®, I will admit I didn't understand the power of paprika. In the US I feel like it is a spice that is in everyones kitchen, usually expired, and goes on deviled eggs once a year. When I started testing combinations of seasonings and flavors to come up with the perfect all purpose seasoning I struggled to find that flavor that stands apart yet blends with all other flavors.
It was Christmas 2018 and my now wife, then girlfriend, bought me a basket filled with hand selected spices, salts and imported foods from Eataly in Manhattan. Little did either of us know that this basket would birth the entire line of Wah Gwan® seasoning eventually. Pimentón del a vera dulce, or sweet smoked Spanish paprika, was in this basket, imported straight from Spain. What happened when we opened this jar blew us both away, we both said "Is this what paprika is supposed to smell like??" Now we are not strangers to the kitchen, obviously, but even for us we could not believe the depth and richness of the smell coming from this paprika. We have even done Hungarian paprika taste tests with our Czech and Hungarian friends who swear Hungarian paprika is the only paprika. We were impressed but not like this. This was our new obsession.
What happened next was nothing short of magical. I rushed to start cooking with this paprika and my split pea chicken soup was my go-to at that time. I seasoning the chicken with the paprika and then pulled out one other product from the basket that I had not tried yet, Dried Scotch Bonnet Pepper. What happened when these two flavors came together blew us away and Wah Gwan® all purpose seasoning was born.
What better way to celebrate the country of our paprika origin, Spain, but with Carabineros! Recently I got my hands on some fresh Carabineros and brought this recipe back to nature. If you don't know what these delicious prawns that taste like lobster are well, they are just that. Found in Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean these large prawns are bright red even before cooking them due to the pink plankton that they eat. This makes for such an impressive dish to view at any stage of the cooking process.
Recipes don't have to be complicated, in fact some of my favorite meals are quality sourced, fresh ingredients, eaten as simply as possible.
Carabineros with Wah Gwan® Butter
In this recipe I used my gaucho grill to heat a cast iron pan and seasoned it with G Salt, normally just used as finishing salt.
I placed the Carabineros in the pan and let them sear, in the shell, on a high heat. Rotating as needed.
In a separate cast iron I added a quarter cup of quality butter, I used Plugra french butter and let that melt.
Immediately transported to the Spanish coast, don't underestimate the simplicity of this dish! See for yourself...