Saturday, August 14, 2010

Fried Padron Peppers - Spain's Deliciously Dangerous Divas

This is the time of year when one of my favorite seasonal foods, the Padron pepper makes its very short, annual appearance.

By the way, in the video I refer to them as "Padrones," which is what I've always called them, and what the guy I always bought them from at the SF Farmers' market called them. However, they are more commonly called Padron peppers (just in case you are calling around looking for some).

What follows is a repost from 2008...

Padrones are small green peppers, native to Spain, but occasionally available in American farmer's markets. The season is short, and in just a few weeks they disappear, like some mysterious, charismatic visitor, leaving just as things are heating up. They tell you they'll see you next year, but that doesn't help the melancholy as you mope over to the jalapenos.

In addition to their complex, bitter-sweet flavor, the usually mild padrones are the world's most exciting pepper to eat. This is due to a fascinating genetic oddity - one out of every dozen or so peppers is really spicy!

So, there you are, happily enjoying your time with this sexy, soft-spoken Spaniard, and wham! Out of nowhere you get slapped in the face! By the way, if this metaphor is ever made into a movie, Penélope Cruz will be playing the part of the temperamental pepper.

As you'll see in the video, a simple preparation is recommended. A quick sizzle in hot olive oil, and a few flakes of "Fleur de Sel" sea salt is all that's needed with this late summer treat. Too many ingredients, and the flavor will not be fully enjoyed. Think about it, in the movie, should Penélope Cruz be in a 3-piece suit, or a simple cotton sundress? Enjoy!

A special thanks to Steve Eliot for his generous gift of these beautiful padrones.



35 comments:

myspace shout said...

ok. I found an information here that i want to look for.

hot stock tips said...

yeah! its much better,

jeff said...

Nice one. When the ingredients are perfect you don't have to do much to them!

BTW- I am sooo glad ou post pics/vids of foods you acually prepare. Unlike those umscroupulous food bloggers who lure in with a pretty photo from somwhere else only to see their shoddy work after the fact-phew.

Thanks,

Jeff

Adam Schlozman said...

are the peppers available at a regular supermarket?

Chef John said...

no, usually at farmers market only. u can get seeds online.

Andrew said...

Hey John,

Great blog! I really enjoy your work.

How much traffic does foodwishes command?

Chef John said...

thanks! email me if you want to talk traffic/business

SavoryTv said...

Great video and nice work! I'm hungry now :)

milkshake said...

Chef, please have you seen this cooking video? Unfortunately it is without a voice-over...

http://www.eatpes.com/western_spaghetti.html

granny said...

Planning my twice a year visit to Madrid to visit my grandsons, oh yes and my son and daughter-in-law too. I've been hearing about padrones from my son for years now but have never tasted any. This is a next on my list of things to try. Will look in my supermarket here in the states.

Shannon said...

lovely AND talented??? you flatter me, john.

i'm making my dad make me fried eggs and padrones for breakfast this weekend. he doesn't know about this yet, but will soon.

you're too awesome. =)

Chef John said...

Thanks! I wonder what wine he would pair with padrones and eggs?

Jen (Modern Beet) said...

these look great! I saw these a couple weeks ago at my farmer's market, but for some reason decided not to get them... bad decision!! I've been seeing recipes for them all around since then, and am hoping they'll still be available this weekend when I go to the FM

Jairus said...

sounds like a recipe to try if your feeling dangerous!!

Nate-n-Annie said...

These are great. Happy Quail Farms sells them for $6 per 4 oz bag at the Palo Alto farmer's market but I found another vendor selling them for $4 for a 6 oz tub at the Saratoga farmer's market. Couldn't resist them!

Djini-Kalem said...

I'm from Spain and I have to congratulate you John. This recipe is the real deal! (Just like Mom cooks them.)

Some back story: these are some great peppers, but they just really work well in their season, which lasts just a couple of weeks as Chef John mentioned. That's probably why you don't really see them much in the US. Moreover they don't really taste well when preserved and surely they are not the kind of spicy as in Mexican chiles (after all, we are European!).

At home in Madrid we usually bet on who finds the spicy one. As we say in Spain: "¡Pimientos de Padrón, unos pican y otros non!". A couple of years ago I heard of some scientists who were looking into why this happens. It turned out it has to do with the ammount of water and sun the plant gets and how many fruits you have in it. Not everyone agrees. But you can sure distinguish the natural ones from the ones produced off-season in greenhouses: the greenhouse peppers are dull in flavor and it is rare to find a really spicy one.

Thanks for all the recipes John!

Anonymous said...

Would curly italian peppers be a good substitute? Cut into chunks and fried the same way? Actually, my family recipe is that we slice the curly peppers length-wise, stuff them with a seasoned, pureed fishpaste, dust with cornstarch and fry till done and finish with an oyster sauce based sauce. The texture of peppers look the same as yours once cooked, and it can hit or miss pleasantly spicy or ramped up hot too depending on the individual peppers.

Chef John said...

sure, any fried peppers are good, but there is only one padrones!

ibnmosef said...

cotton sundress, please

Janet Ching said...

This is my favorite tapas with freshly crushed sea salt on them, yummy!

Lucia said...

Yum, I miss them. My family has some crops, and I get always a bunch for summer .

At home we actually fry them, but that works quite fine.

To avoid splatering, we prick them a bit around to break the skin.

Now I wish i had some, taste of Galician summer, sniff.

Thomas said...

So I'm not supposed to heat non-stick pans on high heat...

Do I need to use black steel then?

How about copper and aluminum?

Your pans does not look like black steel. Is it stainless steel?

Chef John said...

yes, i used steel. The others will work if high-quality and not cheap nonstick

Carlos said...

is the "fleur de sel" necessary (the sea salt)? can it just be regular salt not from the sea? isn't sodium chloride sodium chloride?
Thanks, great recipe BTW!

Chef John said...

yes, but its not the taste, its the flaky, crunchy texture of the sea salt that makes it so nice.

Lucia said...

Since I cant find them in France Im planting my own, got some small plants, hoping it grows more.

On a side note, they are called Padron peppers because Padron is the place they are from (in Galicia, north west of Spain). I guess capital cities like Madrid or so can"import" them, but otherwise not even in Spain outside Galicia, they are not that easy to find. So it is nice to hear they are popular over them, they are certainly not in France.

Anonymous said...

Problems with watching the video! I also have problems with scrolling up and down the site....
Good luck!
Dorothea

Chef John said...

what kind of problem scrolling?

Anonymous said...

Excuse my English, it "stutters" when I scroll up and down, like there's a delay.
Good luck!
Dorothea

Anonymous said...

We watched your video, went out for tapas a few days later and they were on the menu. They were prepared just as you suggested and then we took home a few extras and had them on our eggs this morning. What a treat!

Hank said...

Padron Peppers in the wild (Barcelona)!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/henrylumbard/5032420001/in/set-72157624930461113/

gguerra3 said...

Actually all peppers are native to the New World and Mexico to be exact. Here is a quote from Wikipedia

"The most famous produce of Padrón are its peppers (Spanish pimientos de Padrón), which are small green peppers from the Capsicum annuum family. They are served fried with olive oil and coarse salt. Most taste sweet and mild, though some are particularly hot and spicy, which gives its character to the dish and is perfectly captured in the popular "Os pementos de Padrón, uns pican e outros non" (Galician for "Padrón peppers, some are hot and some are not"). The level of heat varies according to the capsaicin of each pepper. Although it's not always the case, the peppers grown towards August/September tend to contain more capsaicin than the ones of June/July.

About 15,000 kg of peppers are grown in Padrón each year (mostly in the valley of the parish of Herbón) between June and September. In 1979 the first Festa do Pemento de Padrón was organized in Herbón, a popular gastronomic event that has been held every year since, the first Sunday in August. The festa takes place in the carballeira of Herbón's Franciscan convent, since it was the Franciscan monks who brought the first pepper seeds from Mexico in the 16th century, which then were adapted to the soil, the Oceanic climate of the Valley and grown with special techniques."

maria29junio said...

Oh! I'm so glad that these peppers are so famous all around the world!! I'm María and I'm from Galicia and I love them! My mother-in-law makes them each weekend from June to September and we are apx 10 people at home every weekend, and we bet who takes the spicy one or two!! John, I like cooking and I have a lot of Spanish and Galician recipes. If you want them, just e-mail me maria29junio@yahoo.es. Your blog is amazing! Bye-bye.

www.recetasparatontos.com said...

Ohh!! I'm from Spain, exactly from Galicia, the part of Spain where Padron peppers grow. You have a brilliant blog. Congratulations. I invite you to visit my blog!! See you soon!

Anonymous said...

thanks for your post! just enjoyed these in Spain and trying to figure out home to bring them home to California.