Paprika perk-ups

Here are some effortless ways to work paprika into everyday cooking:

• To make a sauce for fish, whisk about 1 1/2 teaspoons of smoked paprika into 1/2 cup mayo. Add lemon juice to taste. Capers are a great addition, and a little dried dill weed won't hurt, either. And if you happen to be serving boiled or roasted potatoes — bonus. You'll be dipping your spuds into this sauce, too.

• Douse cauliflower with smoked paprika and olive oil before roasting. Ditto for potatoes.

• Rub smoked paprika into fish or pork headed for the grill or broiler.

• Make a faux Hungarian mushroom soup by stirring paprika and sour cream into store-bought cream of mushroom soup (look for tasty ones at natural food stores and Trader Joe's). If you have fresh mushrooms on hand, by all means, start the soup by chopping a handful and sautéing them in butter before adding the soup and other ingredients.

• Flavor hash with a generous hit of paprika. Smoked, hot or sweet — your choice.