What to do with a Padron pepper
Padron peppers were included in a recent CSA share. Small, spritely, and kelly green, the peppers stood out among the box's tomatoes and potatoes, hogging the limelight and sparking my interest. But what does one do with a Padron pepper? I hadn't a clue. Hats off to the Internet for a quick save.
Googling "Padron pepper" brought several recipes to my attention, all identical. The Padron pepper is a native of Spain, most often enjoyed as part of a tapas offering, fried in olive oil, and sprinkled with kosher salt or coarsely ground sea salt.
Ignoring the insane heat index (what to do when it hits 105 degrees Fahrenheit?), I jacked up the air conditioning, turned on the (pretty much useless) oven fan, turned a burner to medium, and placed a large cast-iron skillet on top. I poured a bit of olive oil inside, washed and dried the peppers, and layered a few paper towels on a plate. When the oil became a slick, shimmering mass, I put the peppers into the fiery skillet and stepped back — you must step back — avoiding oil splatters and splutters that cascaded from the range. The peppers blistered within 2 minutes. I turned them with a slotted metal spoon, then drained the peppers on the aforementioned paper towels and sprinkled them with salt.
Then I took a bite. Several bites. Padron peppers are fantastic. Though generally mild with a hint of sweetness, a few hot peppers lurked among the handful I tried. Prepare yourself for the occasional spark of heat. Fried Padron peppers are meant to be a small part of a larger tapas spread, so enjoy these alongside (my favorite) Spanish omelet filled with layers of onion and potato, shrimp with romesco sauce, and hunks of Manchego cheese.