Paprika colorau (koo-loo-rahw) and páprica (pah-pree-kuh) Ah, another conundrum. The pepper family has always caused great confusion throughout the world when it comes to nomenclature. Considering that the Portuguese were responsible for distributing the fruit around the rest of the globe, after Christopher Columbus took it back from the New World, you’d think there’d be some sort of a uni ed naming system for them. Alas, there’s not. It’s best to think of paprika on a scale from mild to hot. On the mildest end is colorau doce, which is made from ground, dried red bell peppers. Inching toward the hot end is colorau. Even closer to the hotter end of the spectrum is what the Portuguese call páprica, made from more piquant peppers in the same family. In Portugal, these spices aren’t always used interchangeably. Many cooks prefer to use colorau for adding a terra-cotta color and just a touch of avor to dishes. My maternal grandmother, vovó Costa, never let her soups or rice dishes leave her kitchen unless they were blushing with colorau. Páprica is reached for when more heat is required. As you ip through these recipes, you’ll notice I use Spanish smoked paprika a lot. I do this for two reasons. First, because it’s been slowly showing up on spice shelves in Portuguese homes. But more important, because it’s a gamble whether domestic smoked chouriço or linguiça will have the requisite brio to make a dish stand out, I call on smoked paprika to do some of the heavy lifting. It mimics that musky smokiness that pervades so many popular Portuguese dishes. While living in Portugal, I was surprised to discover that páprica, and even colorau, can vary not just in heat but also in bitterness. Experiment a bit with di erent brands. For best results, I suggest buying the sweetest, least bitter paprika—both regular and smoked—you can find.
Parsley salsa (sahl-suh) Parsley is second only to cilantro as Portugal’s favorite herb. It’s steeped in soups, tucked into braises, and sprinkled over entrées. When shopping, look for the at-leaf variety with lush, tender stems and leaves. Rinse the herb well in water, then roll the bunch in a damp paper towel and store in a plastic bag in the fridge. It’ll last for at least a week.