A hot and savory Spanish classic.
Only about one out of ten of the small green peppers from the Spanish municipality of Padrón are wildly hot, while the rest are as mild as a green bell pepper. The exciting part is that it's pretty much impossible to tell them apart until you actually put one in your mouth. It's part of what makes eating them so damn exciting, though I gotta admit: I love their flavor so much that I'd be perfectly content knocking back a bowl without the added adrenaline of a game of capsicum roulette. Here's how to cook them.
. His well-documented results imply that in almost all situations, searing or frying with olive oil is perfectly fine. There are, however, a scant few situations in which I personally prefer to avoid it, and they all involve cooking relatively delicately-flavored items at ridiculously hot temperatures.
I've tried frying Padrón peppers in pure, smoking hot olive oil, but the high heat produces a more intense peppery, pungent flavor in the softer and sweeter Spanish Arbequina olive oil I prefer to use for this dish. It's a characteristic that's not necessarily bad in all contexts, and one that with a more robustly flavored dish like, say, a steak or a pork chop, may not even be noticed, but Padrón peppers have enough of that back-of-the-throat pungency on their own without having to be overwhelmed with overheated olive oil.
For these peppers, I stick with searing in a neutral oil like canola or grapeseed. I start by first heating the oil to its smoke point in a cast iron skillet, and then add the peppers in a single layer, cooking them without moving for a good 30 seconds until they're deeply blistered and charred.
A few tosses and in less than two minutes they're ready to come out.Nowis the time to drizzle them with that extra-virgin olive oil (and plenty of it!) and give them a big sprinkle of coarse sea salt, which not only seasons the peppers, but also gives them some extra texture.
There. You've got yourself one of the finest (not to mention most exciting) bar snacks to ever grace the earth. And yes, if you want to sound fancy and cosmopolitan, go ahead and call themtapasand serve them with sherry (or, keep it Galicia-style with some hard cider), though woe befall the diner who gets one of the really hot ones without some good, cheap, ice cold, guzzle-able beer or wine close at hand!Read more: Serious Eats »
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