If you’ve ever had padron peppers, you now love them, and await–with great anticipation–the arrival of their cruelly short growing season. And if you eat them regularly (while they’re in season), you undoubtedly already know how to prepare them–unless, of course, you simply don’t cook. But if you’ve never tried padron peppers, look for them at your local farmer’s market or grocer, and prepare them as described below. The peppers have a deliciously subtle flavor, and become addictive after just the first couple tries.
Here in California, some genius–and for once, I mean that as the truest of compliments, has found a way to extend the growing cycle from about two weeks to closer to three months. Not only can they be found at all our area farmer’s markets, but they’re even available in Whole Foods.
Like other peppers, padrons are a great source of Vitamins A and C as well as folic acid, potassium and fiber, and they’re low in calories. They also contain capsaicin, which studies suggest boosts metabolism and suppresses appetite. What’s not to love about them?!
A word of caution… Many places, including restaurants, try to pass off shishito peppers as padrons. They are not the same! Shishitos run much hotter, and can’t claim the same subtleness of flavor and texture. If you buy padrons in season, you can expect less than 20 percent of your batch to have a little heat. It’s very rare to encounter one that actually gives any burning sensation. In fact, even my close friend who has been entirely “heat” averse for decades has grown to love padron peppers.
Serve padrons as a light appetizer with chilled white or rose wine or a nice cold beer.
1 pint padron peppers
1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse-ground sea salt
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Heat the oil and add in the peppers. Shake the pan slightly every few minutes until the peppers are nicely blistered on all sides. Transfer the peppers to a small bowl or plate and sprinkle with the coarse-ground salt.
Eat immediately (because if you don’t, you’ll find there won’t be any left).