Tuesday, 24 July 2012

How to cook Padrón Peppers (Pimientos de Padrón)

"Os pementos de padrón, uns pican e outros non"

How to cook Padrón peppers, a recipe and their history
The above is a Galician saying describing the little green peppers that are the subject of this post, meaning that some of them have a kick, others don't. These are the Russian Roulette of Spanish gastronomy.

Pimientos de Padrón (Padrón Peppers) grow in the eponymous parish of Padrón, located in the province of Galicia known as A Coruña, in Northwest Spain. This a poetic land, home to one of the greatest female writers of the Galician language, Rosalía de Castro. Spain has several regional languages (recognised as such, instead of dialects, under the Spanish Constitution), other languages include Basque and Catalonian.

Padrón Peppers are currently stocked at Waitrose (£1.99 for a 130 g bag), this is where I bought mine last week, but keep your eyes peeled if you see any Spanish stalls, shops, supermarkets in your daily travels. They are a very seasonal produce and, in fact, they are ideal for summer tapas so make sure you grab a bag soon or you may have to wait until next year.

How to cook Padrón Peppers (Pimientos de Padrón)

They are very easy to prepare:

1. Heat olive oil in a frying pan. The bag says 30 ml, I use my "ojo de buen cubero"* skills and calculate myself as I pour.

How to cook Padrón Peppers (Pimientos de Padrón)

2. Add the peppers and fry over a medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, stirring them or shaking the pan (if you're less clumsy than me) every once in a while, until you see that the skin of the peppers blisters and they appear to be shrinking (the bag said something like gentle heat for about 3/4 minutes but I don't agree, a gentle heat isn't enough).

How to cook Padrón Peppers (Pimientos de Padrón)

3. Serve with Spanish flair in a pretty or manky dish, it doesn't matter, sprinkle with sea salt (in the UK I like using Maldon). The salt should be noticeable, I know it may not sound like the best for your heart but the fact that this will lift your spirits will cheer your ticker right up.

This is ideal food to have with other tapas or with a big salad like we did on Sunday with some of the leftovers of the Maple-Glazed Roast Chicken with Sesame Seeds I told you about the other day (that chicken goes a long way!).

How to eat Padrón Peppers

No forks required, grab them by the stems and, if you're brave, eat everything but the stem itself but don't forget some of them can be as hot as a chilli pepper while others are totally mild but extremely tasty. The safe way of eating them is by only biting the tip first, the seeds are the real culprits when it comes to tastebud explosions.

What to drink with Padrón Peppers

Enjoy, if you can, with a nice chilled beer and make sure you have nice crusty bread handy because, should you get one with that special kick, you will want to reach for the bread to appease the burning sensation, if you like chillis you're going to love this. Once you're done with the bread make sure you have a nice sip of that beer. Chin chin.

If you want to read more about the food of my homeland, Galicia, step this way.

¡Que aproveche!

Maria aka Feisty Tapas

*A ojo de buen cubero: A Spanish expression meaning to do something by guessing.

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