Miriam Garcia with one of the most classic Spanish tapas – fried padron peppers.
By Miriam Garcia
Have you ever heard about Padron peppers? There’s a saying that goes Pimientos de Padrón, unos pican y otros no (Padron peppers, some are hot and some are not). This refers to the fact that most of Padron peppers are sweet and flavorful, while only a few of them can be quite hot, making eating them a culinary Russian roulette. They are not only a gastronomic pleasure, but a lot of fun too.
These little morsels of vegetable goodness originate in the northwestern region of Galicia, around the town of Padrón, hence their name. I have some kinfolk living in Galicia, at Santiago de Compostela, so I visit often and have the chance to eat fried Padron peppers at the local bars… delish. Padron peppers are usually eaten fried in olive oil and with a sprinkle of coarse salt that not only enhances their flavor, but adds a nice crunch. No need for any other garnish, simplicity and quality food at its best.
- ½ pound fresh Padron peppers
- Virgin olive oil for frying
- Coarse salt or fleur de sel to taste
- Wash the peppers thoroughly and pat dry with kitchen paper.
- Pour the oil in a pan to a depth of 1" approximately and put it on medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, grab a handful of peppers and throw them into the oil. Use a lid as the oil will splash quite a lot. They should brown on both sides, but should not get too dark. Turn them over if necessary.
- When done, take them out with a slotted spoon and sprinkle with the salt. Serve immediately while piping hot accompanied by a sturdy country bread.
For eating the peppers, you’ve got to hold them by the stem, bite into the flesh and pull, leaving the stem intact. You’ll end up with a nice collection of little stems on your plate. Fried Padron peppers are superb served with a chilled fruity Galician white wine like Ribeiro or Albariño.