Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Padrón peppers with coarse salt

Summertime is the perfect time for tapas and cocktails. One of my favorite tapas is tiny padrón peppers simply fried in olive oil until lightly blistered and sprinkled with coarse salt. Pimientos de Padrón, or Padrón peppers, are heirloom peppers from Galicia in northern Spain and popular in tapas bars around Spain and the US. Over sangria and good company, I would frequently snack on a plateful of tiny padrón peppers at  Cafe Ba-ba-reeba, one of my favorite tapas restaurants in Chicago.

As delicious as they are, part of the fun is that eating padrón peppers is like culinary roulette: most of these peppers are sweet, while a handful are scorching hot. Some say the small ones are sweet while the longer ones are the hottest. I suggest that you take your chances and eat one (or a plateful).

It's really a no-recipe recipe, but in any case, here it is.

Padrón peppers with coarse salt

6 oz Padron peppers
1/4 cup olive oil
coarse salt, like Maldon

Wash and pat dry the peppers. Keep stems intact. Heat 1/4 cup of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Fry peppers in batches, turning, until skin is blistered, about 5 minutes. Remove and let drain on a stack of paper towels. Sprinkle with coarse salt, like Maldon. Transfer to serving bowl.

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