Padrón peppers—discovered in Mexico in the 16th century by the Franciscan monks and brought back to Spain—are grown in the town of Padrón in Galicia. They are available now (the season typically runs from June until October) at your local farmers market or at good specialty markets such as Bi-Rite.
Depending on what size they are when harvested, and at what point in the growing season, some can be very spicy. Most, however, are mild and sweet and you never know when you might pick a hot one—the equivalent of pepper roulette! They are very healthy and incredibly easy to prepare.
Ingredients (serves 6 as a light appetizer):
-1 pound Padrón peppers,
rinsed and dried and cleaned of
any brown leafy material
around the base of the stem
-Coarse sea salt
-Extra virgin olive oil
Place a cast iron or heavy-bottomed pan (carbon steel works well, too) over high heat until smoking. Add the peppers and toss occasionally with tongs. They should start to wilt and blister. If your stove doesn’t get hot enough, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to move the process along. Cook until fairly soft (3-4 minutes). Do not overcrowd the pan—work in batches if necessary. Remove the
peppers to a serving bowl. Drizzle with a generous amount of best quality extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with coarse salt and toss well. Serve immediately. Allocate a small bowl for discarding the stems.
Any very dry Spanish rosé or sparkling wine, such as Cava.