Hot? Or Not?

August 20, 2013

Photo (57)
Could hardly believe it when I found these tiny (about an inch long) pimientos de padron at the market today.  I've never seen them for sale outside of Spain.  I pounced on them and brought them home.

I feel a certain responsability for their being in this country.  When I took over Gourmet in 1999, I asked Calvin Trillin if there was any place in the world he wanted to go.  "Padron," he immediately replied, "for the peppers. They're not grown here."  

The peppers have a uniquely robust flavor, filling your mouth with a taste I can only describe as "green."  They also hide a surprise; most are merely delicious, but every fifth pepper or so you get one that's hot enough to send shivers down your spine.

Trillin's account of his pepper pilgrimage appeared in the November 1999 issue of Gourmet. It was such a passionate ode that a farmer in New Jersey began growing them. Now he sends a huge pile to Mr. Trillin, who hosts his own little pepper festival each fall. Robert Sietsema does the honors, frying them in a big pot of boiling oil while we stand around the stove, waiting for him to pull the peppers out. He sprinkles them with salt and we all make a grab for them. It's wonderful, messy fun.

I decided to try something a little different. Rather than deep-fry them, I simply slicked a cast iron skillet with olive oil and sauted the pimientos until their skins crinkled up. Then I showered wthem with salt, picked one up by its stem and stuck it in my mouth.

It was a hot one. It was delicious. More please. 





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  • Vsaunders says:

    Hi Ruth:
    We have a local organic farm here in San Diego called Suzie’s – they have all sorts of different peppers during the summer – pimientos padrons, shiseitos (sp?), hatch, bell, mini sweet …. they sell at all the farmers markets and at Whole Foods. They have a beautiful selection that never ceases to amaze. Beautiful.

  • spremutti says:

    They grow very well here on the humble west side of the Hudson Valley. One plant makes enough for a couple of people to have a bowl of blistered peppers (in an oiled cast-iron skillet) every week or so. But if you let them grow longer than around 2 inches (I wasn’t sure when to pick the first batch), they get very very hot.

  • Linda Vernon says:

    I have been enjoying locally grown Padron peppers all summer, found at our Farmer’s Market in Napa. Toss in olive oil, thread on a skewer, blister on a very hot grill, toss with French grey sea salt and enjoy! Tasty snacks for a cocktail party on the lawn…