Saturday, March 8, 2014

Spain Memories - Pimientas del Padron

When I visited Spain a couple of years back, I was lucky enough to have hosts that let me play in their kitchen. Not only did I get to play in the kitchen, I had the honor of having my friend Nena share a couple of her family recipes. Such great memories of the day we hung out and cooked together.

Spain has these incredible chilies that are about the same size as a big jalapeño, but are shaped a little bit differently. They are called Pimientas del Padron from La Caruna in northwestern Spain. These peppers are typically pretty mild, but every so often, you may get one that is realllllly hot. My dear friend got one of these crazy hot ones on our last trip to Spain. I like to call it "Pepper Roulette". It's a very delicious gamble.

I had never seen these pepper stateside before. Last week I found them at Whole Foods. I was over the moon! I just couldn't believe it. I snapped up a big bag of them. The traditional preparation for them (as taught to me by the fabulous Nena) is quite simple. A healthy portion of olive oil is heated to a high temperature (but do not let it smoke!). Pour the peppers in the pan and cover with a lid. Let them sauté for about 5-7 minutes, the peppers should be nice and browned. Shake pan to turn peppers. Saute for another 5-7 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Salt with coarse sea salt. Let them cool for a couple of minutes so as not to burn your mouth with the temperature cuz you may burn it with the heat if you get one of those fiery babies!

They are a rare find, so if you see them, make sure to get your hands on them!

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