Padrón, The Frying Pepper
I first experienced Padrón peppers on a trip to Spain two years ago. Glancing at a just delivered plate that sizzled and glistened, our waiter asked what was next. “We’ll have that.” I said in my broken Spanish.
I fell in love with the Padrón all over again on my recent trip. Named after Padrón, the Galacian town where they’re from, they were all over Spain on menus and in markets. My plant had only produced one before we left and it was a hot one. Quizzing a merchant in Madrid, I was told about every fifth pepper is fiery. The others are mildly sweet with a subtle nutty flavor. Heat increases the longer you leave them on the plant.
Since we demolished our harvest and they’re only around for a short time, I picked up a pint from Capay Organics at the Sunday morning Sacramento market last week. Capay is hoping they’ll have them one last time this Sunday.
They’re easy to make and easier to consume. Dare I confess we had them three times one evening while in Spain?! Grab one by the stem and into the mouth. Small ones go in one bite, larger take two. Be sure to lick your fingers.
Tip: If kept on the plant a long time, they’ll grow larger, get hotter and turn red. You can dry and grind these into powder and use as you would a hot paprika, make hot sauce, or throw them into the fry pay too.
Pimientos de Padrón
Heat oil in a fry pan until shimmering and hot. Toss in your washed Padrón (they’ll pop and crack due to the residual water so watch out). Cook and stir them until charred and wrinkled. Sprinkle with a nice sea salt, toss, then place on a plate.